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Full text of "The City hall, Providence. Corner-stone laid, June 24, 1875. Dedicated, November 14, 1878"

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CI r y o F rn o vin e xc e . 


[Apiii-ovfd (»ctol>er 15, 1S7'.I.] 

Kksolved, That alilermaii Elisha C. Mowry, and Messrs. Charles E. 
Carpenter, J. Lewis Peirce, and Hugh Hamill, of the common council, be 
and they are hereby appointed a joint special committee to cause the proceed- 
ings at the dedication of the city hall to be printed, together with such other 
matters connected therewith as they may deem expedient, the expense 
thereof to be charged to the ajipropriation for contingencies. 


Henky V. A. JusLiN, City Clerk. 

C ( ) N 'J^ E N T S . 


CITY HALL, ......... 1 




DEDICATION • • • -53 



City Hall Commissioners, . . . . . .89 

Committee on Furxituke, ...... 





The city hall is the finest and most inijM(sinjr publit^' building in the 
city of Providence. The interest with which it lias been visited, and 
the favoi'able criticisms which it has universally received from strangers 
and citizens alike, both. as to its completeness of architectural design 
and its spacious and convenient accommodations for the transaction 
of municipal business, are the highest tribute to the efforts of the 
committee who secured the plans, the architect who designed, and the 
commissioners who supervise<l. 

To the commissioners, has ah'eady been awarded by the public 
admission of competent judges, the praise to which they are justly 
entitled for a service voluntarily rendered, that the city of Providence 
has "the best-built and best-appointed city hall in the United States " ; 
and our citizens and tax-payers may well congratidate tliemselves 
that this building will stand an enduring monument to them and to 
all who in any manner have pai'ticipated in its construction. 

Soon after the dedication in November, 1878, the city council passed 
a resolution thanking the lion. Abraliam Payne fortlic " eloquent and 
scholarly oration delivered by him at the dedication," and requesting 
the committee of arrangements to secure a copy thereof to be printed 
in such manner as the city coiuicil shoidd direct. The copy was duly 
obtained from ]Mr. Payne, but the printing was purposely delayed in 
anticipation of further action of the council, which, October 15th, 
1879. took shape in the appointment of a joint special committee, 


" to cause the proceerlings at tlie declicatioii of tlie city hall to he 
printed, together with such other matters conuectetl therewith as 
they may deem expedient." 

For many reasons the committee have been unable to complete 
earlier the task assigned to them. 'J'liey trust, however, that the 
attempt in these pages to preserve a coiicise history of the under- 
taking, avoiding, so far as possible, all allusion to the contentious 
upon the location of the city hall, as well as upon matters arising 
during the progress of the work, may, in a measure, justify the 
delay, and may meet the ajiproval of the cilv council and of our 
citizens generally. 

Elisiia C. ]Mowrt. Chiiirmnn, 
Charles E. Cakpextee, 
James Lewis Peirce, 
llur.ii TIamili,, 

Committee to print the I'foccedintjs at the 

Dedication of the (Jilij Hall. 

Providence, December 1. l< 


The first definite action for the erection of a city hall was 
taken by the city council of the city of Providence, Novem- 
ber 10, l'S4r>. when it was 

"Resolvkd, That in the opinion of the city council, the 
safety of the city records and the convenience of the city gov- 
ernment, and of the citizens generally, require more safe and 
ample accommodations. 

"Resolved, That Messrs. George B. Peck, John J. Stimp- 
son, Moses B. Lockwood, Edward S. Williams, Daniel E. 
Carpenter, Nathaniel F. Potter, of the common council, and 
Thomas M. Burgess, mayor, and Thomas C. Hojipin, alder- 
man, be, and they are hereby appointed a connnittee to 
cause one or more plans for a city hall to be prepared, with 
estimates of the cost for carrying the same into execution ; 
that said committee report said plans and estimates to the city 
council, and some mode of paying for said city hall ; also a 
suitable location therefor, and that the cost of such plans and 
estimates be paid by the city tresisurer out of the appropria- 
tion for contingencies upon the order of the committee, and 
that said committee report at the meeting in January." 

In January, 1840, this conmiittee reported, "that they 
have two plans prepared, but as they have been finished but 
a few days, the committee are not prepared to make a defi- 
nite recommendation, and they therefore ask leave to make 
further report at a future meeting." 

From that time to the year 1853, various resolutions were 


passed hy successive councils, appointing committees to 
select a proper site for the location of a building to be used 
by the municipal government. 

February lo, 18.54, a committee was directed to purchase 
the land whereon the city hall now stands, wliich was accord- 
ingly done on the 22d of April following. 

March 26, 1874, nearly twenty years after this purchase, 
a resolution was passed "that Messrs. Alincr .1. Barnaby, 
Cliarles A. Xiehols, Sturgis P. Carpenter. Archibald B. 
Rice, Raymond G. Place, and (Jeorge H. Pettis, of tiie com- 
mon comicil, with aldermen Addison Q. Fisher, Abner H. 
Angell, and William V. Daboll, be, and they arc hereby 
appointed a committee to advertise for ))huis, with approxi- 
mate estimates of the cost of a city hall, to be built u])on 
the lot l)e]onging to the city, known as the city hall lot. 
boiuided I)y Dorrance, \A'asliington, Kddy and Fulton streets ; 
said plans to be presented to the conmiittee ujton the follow- 
ing conditions : that the city shall pay to the person or per- 
.sons whose plans shall l)e selected l)y the conuuittee, and 
adopted by the citj' council, such sum as shall bo fixed by 
the committee, not exceeding one thousand dollars, and no 
compensation shall be allowed to .any j)erson or persons pre- 
senting such plans, unless the same shall have been selected 
by the committee and adopted by the city council. And the 
committee are hereby directed to reserve the right to reject 
any and all plans that may be presented to them as afore- 

April 16th, of the s.ame year, Mr. Henry A. Cory was 
added to the committee, and a resolution was passed })ermit- 
ting the payment of a premium to the successful competitor 
u|)on the award of the conunittee. without the approval of the by the citj^ council. 

This committee immedi.ately proceeded to act under the 
authoritv conferred upon them, and September 21, 1874, 
sulimitted a partial report us follows : 


To Ihe Honoruhh' Ihr Cili/ ('ouiicll of the f'-lfi/ of Froridena! : 

The joint special ooiniuittoe appointed by resolution num- 
ber 532, passed March 2(;, 1874, to advertise for plans, with 
approximate estimates of the cost of a city hall, to be built 
ui)()u the lot belonging to the city, known as the city hall 
lot, and bounded by Dorrance, Washington, Eddy and Ful- 
ton streets, submit a partial report, as follows : 

The committee secured the services of Mr. E. L. Angell, 
as advisory architect, in making the general floor i)lans of 
the building. 

In determining the size of the structure to be erected, a 
very liberal allowance of room was made to each depart- 
ment, so that each department could grow within its own 
allotted rooms, thus avoiding any changes or alterations in 
the building for a long period of time ; and also to leave a 
fair proportion of the buikling unused at present, to accom- 
modate the future growth of the city. 

These oeneral plans were very carefully considered in all 
their details, and although the progress made by the com- 
mittee may have appeared slow to members of the city coun- 
cil, who, knowing the needs of the city, were anxious that 
this great work for the convenience of our citizens sliould go 
forward as rapidly as possible, yet the committee feel that 
the care bestowed upon this preliminary work, has been 
amidy repaid in the perfection of the plans presented to the 
council this evening. 

Plans and estimates were advertised for, ujion the follow- 
ing conditions : one thousand dollars to l)e paid for the pbui 
selected by the committee for a city hall ; five hundred dol- 
lars to be paid for the i)lan selected as second liest ; and 
three hundred dollars for the plan selected as third best. All 
plans for Mhich a premium should be paid to be the property 
of the city, the connnittee reserving the right to reject any 
or all plans. 


In accordance wilh .said advertisement, twenty-one plans 
were received I)_y the committee, many of them from archi- 
tects of the highest reputation. 

After a most careful examination of the plans presented, 
in which work the judgment of the committee was materially 
.assisted bj- members of the city council, and other of our cit- 
izens most competent to criticise such work, and also by 
Messrs. A. C. Morse, architect, .and Henry Childs, buildci', 
M'ho were engaged to advise with the committee, and make 
estimates of cost of the various plans presented, and to tiie 
thoroughness of whose work the committee are greatly in- 
debted, the committee selected for a city hall the plans with 
the device a " Blue Seal." 

As being entitled to the second j)remium, they selected 
those bearing the device a ''Maltese (Jroxs" : and for the 
third premium, those with the motto "Fiat.'' 

Of the three plans selected, none tilled all the re(iuirements 
of the committee, and none, in the o])inion of the committee, 
was entirely suital)lc for a cit\' hall without modification and 

The committee therefore selected those to which the tii'st 
|)remium had been awarded as being of the style of aichi- 
tecturc that afforded the i>est promise of ultimate perfection, 
and requested the author, ]Mr. S. J. F. Thaj'^er, of Boston, to 
make such moditications as were suggested ; and through his 
ready comijliance and indefatigable labors we are enabled to 
l)resent the perfected plans this evening. 

The building proposed to be erected in accordance, with 
the plans presented, will have a frontage on Dorrance street 
of 133 feet, extending back on ^^'asllington street l.'iS feet, 
covering 21,014 square feet. It sits back on Washington 
street l^^^**^ feet from the street line, and on Fulton street 
20 feet, which Mill allow for the proper widening of those 
streets, shoidd such action ever be determined by the city. 

The structure is to be of granite, five stories in height, 
with cellar. The committee earnestly hope that Rhode Island 


•rranite, some of which is veiy beautiful, may be used in its 

For a complete description of the whole building, the 
council are referred to the communication of Mr. Thayer, 
attached to, and made a part of, this report. 

The cost of the building has been very carefully calcu- 
lated in all its details by ^Messrs. Morse and Childs, and it is 
believed cannot in an3' event exceed their estimates of 
$63.5,000 ; and it is believed will fall below that sum, with 
the competition sure to occur in extensive contracts of this 

For a detailed estimate of cost, the city council are referred 
to the communication of ^Morse and Childs, attached to this 

The committee earnestly recommend the plans which they 
hei-ewith present to the city council for adoption ; believing 
that a city hall erected from them will be an honor and credit 
to our city, a great convenience to our citizens, and, consid- 
ering the large and ever increasing amount paid for the 
rental of city offices, not at all burdensome to the tax-payers 
of the city. 

Your committee are ;nvare that the enterprise, character 
and progressive spirit of a city is quite general!}' judged by 
the character of its public buildings ; and while they believe 
that buildings of this kind should not be too elaborate in 
decoration, but rather challenge public approbation by the 
simplicity, beauty and grandeur of their proportions, yet 
tliink that a style of too severe simplicity may be as faulty as 
one of profuse ornamentation. They have therefore endeav- 
ored to tind the happy medium, and in the plans which are 
recommended this evening they believe that this idea is fully 

In the hope that the same excellences in these plans 
which first attracted the attention, and finallj^ confirmed the 
judgment, of the committee, maj- be equally satisfactory to 


the city council, we unauiinou.sly unite in recommending the 
jiassage of the accompanying resolutions. 

Abneu J. BAr..N.\uv, 
Chahles a. Nichols, 
Sturgis p. Carpenteu, 
A. B. Rice, 
E. G. Place, 
Geo. H. Pettis, 
Hexkv a. Cokv. 
Addisox Q. Fisher, 
Abneu H. Akgell, 
Wm. V. Daboll. ■ 

description of design for new citv hall, providence. 


Ill plan the building is loctaiigular, l;?3 feet on Doriance and Eddy 
.streets, by 158 feet on Wasliington and Fulton streets, liaving a projection 
of 4X54 feet on Dorrance street, and eaeli of tlie other froiils liaving the 
central portion recede aliout 2 feet, thus forniinj; a central pavilion on the 
Dorrance street front, and pavilions at the angles of the Hanks on each of 
the other fronts. Archilectiiral features which will be described here- 
after, and are fully illustrated by the drawings herewith submitted. 

The stories comprise a cellar, varying from 74 to !I4 feet in height, as 
reijuired for heating apparatus, and to avoid excessive expense on account 
of the danger from tide water; a basement story located about 4 feet 
above the grade of the sidewalk on Eddy street, having a double entrance 
from Dorrance street, and entrances in the centre of each of the fronts on 
the other streets. This story is designed to accommodate the police, 
lire, health and poor departments, together with all their adjuncts, and 
other officers, as city registrar, superintendent of hacks, lamps, and 
sealer of weights and measures, etc. Large (ire-proof rooms are pro- 
vided for the storage of documents, and an ample staircase and elevator 
leads to the upper stories. Kvery room is lighted direct from the exte- 
rior, and each department is conveniently accessible from the corridors. 

First story : Is reached, first, by the principal entrance in the centre of 
the Dorrance street front, and also by the entrances on Washiugton, Eddy, 
and Fulton streets, through the basement story. The principal entrance 
leads direct to a large central hall ; on its right Is the mayor's suite, on the 
left the treasurer and collector. Tlie whole of the Eddy street front is 


devoted to larjre and convenient rooms for records, register of transfers, 
assessors, and all their adjnncts; the balance of the floor is given to the 
auditor, city messenger, and janitor. The elevator is located as nearly 
in the centre of the baiUling as possible, and easily accessible from all 
entrances. The principal staircase is in the centre of the central hall or 
light area, and stopping at the second floor secures abundant light for the 
whole interior of the building. 

The mayor's suite, and all the ofl[ices, are provided with ample necessary 
conveniences, as safes, closets, fireplaces, etc., and are studied with care 
as to the proper relation to each other. 


This floor, containing, as it does, the legislative rooms of the govern- 
ment, has been arranged to accommodate them with the utmost degree of 
convenience and elegance. The council chamber is in the centre of the 
Dorrance street front, and the mayor anil aldermen's chamber is located 
at the corner of Dorrance and Washington streets. Each has an excep- 
tionally ample and convenient arrangement of space for members, the 
public, and such adjuncts as lobbies, committee and coat-rooms, etc. The 
balance of this floor is devoted to the water board, municipal court, 
city clerk, and superiuteudent of schools, together with two committee 

On this floor the central staircase is discontinued fur light as before 
stated, and stairs leading to the upper stories are located on the Fulton 
street side of the central hall or area. 

The third and fourth stories, beside liberal accommodations for the 
highway, public buildings, engineer and fire alarm departments, contain 
seven large rooms fit for committees or offices, as yet unappropriated. 

Attention is asked to the complete general arrangement of the plans, 
as to regularity, system, and simplicity, admitting of the soundest con- 
struction, with the least complicated methods; also to the ample and ele- 
gant arrangement of corridors, stairs, tlie central hall, and the larger 
public rooms. 

The exterior is fully illustrated by the drawings, showing each front in 
detail. The style of architecture is Renaissance, of the character widely 
adopted for civic buildings in the most advanced countries of the world. 
The materials to be used are light granite for all the fronts. The princi- 
pal front having a considerable greater degree of elaboration than the 
others, but all having the prominent features developed with the utmost 
care and finish. 


The construction of the building is intended to be of the most substan- 
tial character, using granite for the foundation walls, brick for all the prin- 
cipal and most of the minor partitions. Finely vvroughtgranite for all the 
exterior walls, backed with a vaulted brick wall. Fire-proof floors are 


intended for the basement anil first story, and all surronnding tlie record 
and transfer rooms, and elsewhere shonld it be deemed desirable. Tlie 
roof, under any eircumstances, should be of incoml)ustibIe materials. 
Wherever timber floors are used, an effective system of mortar fire-proof- 
inj; is intended. 

Tile floors are to be used in all principal corridors and business rooms, 
and the staircases are to be of stone ov iron. 

The finish about the doors and windows is intended to be of hard wood. 

Very respectfully subnntted, 

S.\MrKl. J. F. TiiAVHR, Archili'rt. 


Providence, Sept. 21, 1874. 

Estimate of probable cost at present prices to erect a new city hall 

building according; to first premium design marked by a blue wafer, S. .7. 

¥. Thayer, architect. 

Jtems. viz. : Piling, ...... Si:i,.")(M) 

Stone foundations, .... 2(),KO0 

Concreting cellar, .... 1 (iOO 

Granite work complete, . . . 2.')0,000 

Brick work complete, .... 72,000 

Fire-proof floors (iron and brick), . . 20,514 

Fire-proof floors (wood), . . . 13,500 

Iron work (stairs, girders and columns), . 20,000 

Iron and slate roof, flre-proof, . . . 14,7.04 

Iron and tin roof, fire-proof, . . ll,;ns 

Plaster and stucco work, . . . 15,000 

Upper flooring (hard wood), . . 8..500 

Tiling, ...... 21,2;!8 

Marble mantles, soapstone fire-places, and grates, 1,000 

Hardware and window weights, . fi.OdO 

Gas piping, speaking tubes and l)ell work, . 2,000 

Plumbing, ..... 12,000 

Vaults, safes and locks, .... 5,000 

Painting and glazing, . . . 13,000 

Glass, ...... 10,500 

Elevator, ..... ,S,000 

Carpenters' work, .... 70,0.">() 

Heating and ventilation, . . . 23,520 

Total, ..... $G33..S0(I 

Add excavating, .... 1,200 



' ni.rE ^yA^ER. 

Fire-proofing throughout, ..... $670,000 
Fire-proof floors in b.i.sement, first and second stories, . . 650,000 
Fire-proof basement, and till over and under record and trans- 
fer rooms, ...... 033,800 


Fire-proof througliout, ...... $829,000 

Fire-proof floors in basement, first and second stories, . . 809,000 
Fire-proof basement and all over and under record and trans- 
fer rooms, ..... 789,000 

Fire-proof throughout,- ...... $689,000 

Fire-proof floors iu basement, first and second stories, . . 669,000 
Fire-proof basement, and all over and under record and trans- 
fer rooms, ..... 6-19,000 

This design is estimated ou the same basis as the others as to interior 
finish. E.Kecuted as the author intends, it would prove the most expen- 
sive of the three. 

The above figures, in our judgment, represent tlie cost of building the 
several premiated designs for the proposed new city hall, Providence, 
R. I. 

A. C. Morse, Architect. 
Hexky Guilds. 
Providence, Sept. 21st, 1874. 

October 5th, the following' resolutions were adopted : 

" Resolved, That three tax i)ayers of the city of Provi- 
dence, to l)e hereafter elected l>y concurrent vote, ha and 
they are hereby constituted and appointed a commission, and 
as such ai"e authorized and empowered, to build a cit}^ hall, 
upon the city hall lot, so called, bounded by DoiTance, 
Washington, Eddy and Fulton streets, in accordance with 
the plans and elevations recommended by the joint special 
committee ou city hall plai>s, and presented with their 


'■Resolved, That the said commissioners shall make a (|uni- 
tcrly report to the city conncil of their doings, which report 
sliali contain a detailed statement of all receipts, disl)ursc- 
mcnts, and contracts, l)y them received, dishnrsed, or made 
during said quarter." 

On the eighth of the same month, ]\lcssrs. James Y. Smith, 
George H. Corliss and "William G. R. Mowry, were elected 
commissioners to build the city hall. 

The commission organized on the 12th day of Octolier. 
1874, by the election of Hon. James Y. Smith, diairman, 
and immcdiateh' entered upon their duties as i)rescrihed by 
the following ordinance, passed on tiie day of their election : 



[I'asstil October 8, 1874.] 
It is ordained hy the City Cotiin-il of the (.'itij of Proiidvncr ax foUous : 

Section 1. It shall be tlie duty of the city liall commis- 
sioners to proceed fortliwith to tiie construction of a city 
iiail, upon the city hall lot, so called, bounded by Dorrance, 
AVashington, Eddy and Fulton streets. Said commissioners 
are authorized to select one of their number to act as chair- 
man. Two commissioners shall be a quorum for the exer- 
cise of tlie powers and performance of the duties of said 
office ; provided, iiowever, that the city council l)y conciu- 
rent vote of two-tiiirds of the members elected to eitlier 
))oard, voting in the atHrmative, may remove said commis- 
sioners, or either of them, from otfice, for an}* misconduct or 
unfaithful performance of duty, neglect or incapacity. In 
case of a vacancy in the commission, In' death, resignation, 
removal, or otherwise, such vacancy shall l)e tilled by tlie 
aiipointment of another commissioner b}' the city coiuicil by 
concurrent vote of the two branches, who shall hold said 
office, with all the powers and subject to all the restrictions 
l)ro\ided in this ordinance. 


Sec. 2. Said commissioners shall have authority to make 
contracts for labor and materials for the construction of said 
city hall, which shall be valid and binding npon the city. 

All contracts for such labor and material shall he in writing: 
and executed in trii)licate, one of whicli trii)licates shall be 
kept by the commissioners, one shall be delivei-ed to the city 
auditor, and one to the contractor : and no such conti'act 
shall be executed unless good and satisfactory security for 
the faithful performance of the same, and also to indemnify 
and save the city harmless from and against all claims against 
said city, under chapter l(j() of the general statutes, Ijy per- 
sons who may have done work or laI)or in the construction 
and erection of said city liall at tlie request of such contrac- 
tor, shall be given by the contractor and approved by the 
commissioners. Said commissioners, when not otherwise 
authorized l\y the city council, shall ad\ertise in one or more 
newspapers in this city, and in other cities and places, if they 
think best, for sealed proposals for all such contracts, speci- 
fying the time and place where the same shall be received ; 
and such proposals, in order to be received and acted upon, 
shall set forth a specitied sum or price to be paid for all such 
labor and materials, or for either, without condition, limita- 
tion, or alteration, and shall be accompanied with a l)ond, 
satisfactory to the commissioners, conditioned for the faith- 
ful execution of the proposal, if the same shall be accepted ; 
])rovided that said commissioners may, in their discretion, 
reject anj^ or all such propostds ; and proceed to contract for 
such lal)or and materials at a pi-ice not greater than the bid 
of the lowest responsible liidder; and no contract shall be 
assiirned without the written assent of said conunissioners. 
Said commissioners shall have power and authority to employ 
such agents, clerks and servants, as they maj' deem neces- 
sary, and to agree with them for their compensation, whicli 
shall be paid out of the city treasury ; provided that no com- 
mission shall be paid to ixny architect employed by said 
conunissioners for plans or sujierintendence. 


Sec. ?>. Xo one of said commissioners, and no person 
appointed to an}' office, or cmplo\ed by virtue of this ordi- 
nance, shall be interested, directly or indirect!}-, in any con- 
tract, bargain, sale, or agreement, in relation to said city 
hall, or any matter or thing connected therewitii, wherein 
the city is interested, without an express vote of the city 
council : and any and all contracts, bargains, sales or agree- 
ments made in violation of this section shall l)e utterly void 
as to the city. 

Sec. 4. The said commissioners shall sujx'rintcnd the 
construction of said cityiiall, .and keep a record of their offi- 
cial proceedings in the matter, and report to tiic city council 
once in three months, and at such other times as said city 
council shall i-equire, a general exhibit of the state of tiie 
work. Said coinniissioners shall keep regular books of 
account, and all claims against the cit\' on account of the 
construction of the said city iiall, shall be jiresented to saitl 
commissioners, and when apj)roved by them shall l)e j)rc- 
sented to the city auditor, and be [)rocecded with and paid 
as other claims against the city are proceeded with and paid. 

Sec. 5. The city hall commissioners shall receive no sal- 
ary or compensation lor their services as such commissioners. 

October 19, 1874, work was first commenced on the exca- 
vation of tiie lot, and contracts for piling, building founda- 
tion walls, furnishing cut granite, brick, lime and cement, 
and for setting granite and laying brick, were awarded by the 
commissioners in quick succession, and so expeditiously was 
the work pushed forward, that the commissioners were 
enabled to extend the following invitation to the city council 
to attend the ceremonies of the laying of the corner-stone, 
tlie foundation Avails having been completed on the liSth day 
of June, 1875 : 


Okfick of the City Hall Cojimissionkks, j 
Providioxce, If. I , Jiniu 14, 1875. j' 

Til llie Honoralilf Cily Vomiril of (he ('ill/ of I'rociih'iice : 

Gentlejien :— The corner-stone of the new city hall will 
be laid on Thursday, June 24, 1.S75, at 1 1 o'clock. By 
direction of the cit}' hall commissioners, I have the pleasure 
of inviting you to honor the occasion with your [iresence. 
The mayor of the cit}' has lieen invited to preside ; the jTrand 
master of masons for Rhode Island has accepted an invitation 
to lay the stone with the imposing formalities of the Masonic 
fraternity, and (ien. Horatio Rogers has accepted an invita- 
tion to deliver an address. It is ho})ed and expected that 
the ceremonies will be Avorthy of the city and the occasion. 
I am, very lespectfully, 

James Y. Smith, Chairman. 





Tlie corner-stone was laid on the 241h day of June, 1875, 
it being the day kept liy the INfasonic fraternity in honor of 
St. John the Baptist. 

The difl'erent lodges from various parts of the State formed 
at the appointed hour, and a short march was made through 
the streets of the city, and upon arrival at the City Building 
on Market square, his honor the mayor, members of the 
board of aldermen and common council, and other city 
officials, joined tlie procession, and were escorted to the 
foundation of the city hall in the following order : 

Police Skirmishers. 
Police, iiuder coraraand of Chief of Police .Johu M. Kiiowles. 
Grand Marshal W., Charles R. Braytou. 
Aids to Grand Marshal — Brotliers Charles 1!. Bucklin, George F. Chap- 
man, .John J. Jeucks, John G. Massie. 


Platoon of Police. 

Assistant Grand Marshal, W., George H. Burnham. 

Aids. Brothers Frederick Miller and H. .J. Spooner. 

Redwood Band of Newport. 

St. John's Comniandery, Providence, Eminent Commander William 

Rising Swn Lodge, U. D., East Providence, George N. Bliss, Master. 


Ionic Lodge, No. 28. Greene, W., George K. Tyler, Master. 

Granite Lodge, No. 20, Biirrillville, W., Frank Keach, Master. 

Hope Lodge, No. 25, Peace Dale, W., William C. Clarke, Master. 

Central Falls Band. 

.Jeuks Lodge, No. 24, Central Falls, W., Augnstine A. Mann, Master. 

Jillson's Cornet Band, of Wyoming. 

Charity Lodge, No. 23, Ilopkinton, Brother Edward F. Greene, Senior 

Warden, Acting Master. 
What Cheer Lodge, No. 21, Providence, W., Charles B. Webster, Master. 


Assistant Grand Marshal, W., Henry R. Barker. 

Aids, Brotliers Theodore A. Barton and J. L. Sherman. 

Woonsocket Cornet Band. 

Woonsocket Coniniandery, Woonsocket, Eminent Commander Lebbeus C. 


Franklin Lodge, No. 20, Westerly, W., James Potter, Master. 

Temple Lodge, No. 18, Greenville, W., Ethan C. Thornton, Master. 

Manchester Lodge, No. 12, Anthony, W., Harvey S. Bartlett, Jlaster. 

Warwick Lodge, No. IG, Pheiiix, W., Samnel T. Whipple, Master. 

Harmony Lodge, No 9, I'awtuxet, W., Eleazar Kalph, Master. 

King Solomon's Lodge, No. 11, East Greenwich, W., Thomas W. Bickuell, 


■nilltl) DIVISION. 

Assistant Grand Marshal, W., John P. Luther. 

Aids, Brothers A. P. Bartlett and J. S. Kellogg. 

Westerly Brass Band. 

Narragansett Commandery, Westerly, Eminent Commander James M. 


Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 8, Smithlield, W., Samuel G. Aull, Master. 

Friendship Lodge, No. 7, Cliepachet, W., Albert Potter, Master. 

Bristol Cornet Band. 

St. Alban's Lodge, No. G, Bristol, W., J. Howard Manchester, Master. 

Washington Lodge, No. 5, Wickford, W., Josepli E. Spink, Master. 

Mount Vernon Lodge, No. 4, Providence, Brother Marcus M. Burdick, 

Senior Warden, Acting Ma.ster. 


Assistant Grand Marshal, W., Amos M. Hawkins. 

Aids, Brothers Oscar Lapham and J. W. Munroe. 

Pawtuckct Band. 

Union Lodge, No. 10, Pawtucket, W., Stephen F. Fiske, Master. 

Grand Council Royal and Select Masters. 

Marshal, J. A. Hill. 


G. G., George Fuller, 

G. R., Walter Bloclget. 

6. Tr., J. M. Wadsworth. 

G. C. G., George A. Sweet. 

G. C, G. A. Young. 

G. P. C. of W., Frank H. Harrington. 

I. G. M , Robert E. Dwelly. 

D. P. G. M., John F. Adams. 

M. P. 6. M., Albert H. Ciishmau. 

Grand Royal Arch Chapter. 

G. P. S., J. Co.vle. 

G. C. of H., J. C. Fiske. 

G. L., H. Greene. 

G. C, Rev. Wm. N. Ackley. 

G. S , J. C. Blake. 

G. T., W. F. Lawton. 

G. S.,0. H. Briggs. 

G. K., J. F. Gilmore. 

D. G. H. P., W. T. C. Wardwell. 

M. E. G. H. P., F. G. Jillson. 

Washington Lodge, No. 3, Warren, W., Benjamin Martin, Master. 

St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Providence, W., Newton D. Arnold, Master. 

St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Newport, Brother William G. Stevens, Senior 

Warden, Acting ILaster. 

Calvary Commandery, mounted, Senior Warden Nathaniel Grant. 

American Band of Providence. 

Calvary Commandery, Providence, Eminent Commander Eugene D. Burt. 

Committee of Arraugemcuts : R. W., Henry A. Pierce, W., Herbert M. 

Kimball, W.. Albert H. Chaffee. 

M. W., Thoma.s A. Doyle, Mayor of Providence, with City and State 

Otticei'S and Commissioners. 

Grand Tyler -with drawn sword, W., Ebenezer B. White. 

Grand Stewards with white rods, W.. J. B. Pierce, W., E. J. Townsend. 

Past Masters. 

Grand Pursuivant, W., Alfred K. Hall. 

Grand Musical Director, W., William R. Greene. 

Grand Lecturer, W., Stillman White. 

A Brother with a golden vessel of corn, Henry J. Reynolds. 

Two Brethren with silver vessels of wine aud oil, H. W. Blauding and 

Fred. A. Gladding. 
Two Brethren with working tools and trowel, William T. Smith and John 

B. Winship. 

Grand Architect with implements. Brother Samuel J. F. Thayer. 

First D. D. G. M., R. W., Millen S. Greene. 

Second D. D. G. M., W., Cyrus B. Manchester. 

Third D. D. G. M., R. W., Charles D. Greene. 


Fifth D. D. G. M., R. W., Dwiglit R. Adams. 

Graiul Secretary, R. W., Echvin Baker. 

Grand Treasurer, R. \V., Clintou I). Sellew. 

A Past Master with a burning taper, W., Leonard Wright. 

Past Master Israel R. Slieldon with Great Lights, supported by W., Wni. 

N. Bodlisli, \V., John W. McKnight as Stewards. 

Two Past Masters with burning tapers, W., Asahel S. Hawkins and W., 

Stephen Wright. 

Grand Chaplain, Rev. and W , Henry W. Rugg. 

Grand Orator, R. W., Horatio Rogers. 

Tuscan Order, Brother ,Tas. B. Chace. 

Composite Order, Brother John W. Sutton. 

Doric, Ionic ami Corinthian Orders, Brothers Nehomiah Crowell, George 

D. Morris, Emerson P. Blake. 

Past Grand Wardens, R. W., Hiram Hill, Charles J. Fales. 

Past Deputy Grand .Masters, R. W., Charles R. Culler, Philip B. Bourne, 

and B. Snell. 

Past Grand Masters, M. W., Brothers Oliver Johnson and Ariel Ballou. 

The two globes, borne by Brothers H. S. Chace and B. Ward. 

Grand Junior Warden, R. W., John Myers. 

Grand Senior Warden, R. W., Thomas Vincent. 

The Master of the oldest Lodge (St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Newport), R. 

W., Robert S. Franklin, carrying tlie Book of Constitutions. 
R. E., Charles Stott, Grand Commander of Templars in Massachusetts 

and Rliode Island, as Guest. 

The M. W., Grand Master, Nicholas Van Slyck, supported by the Grand 

Deacons, W., Anson Greene and W., James M. Davis, with black 

rods, on a line seven feet apart. 

Grand Sword Bearer, W., Charles Salsleen. 

Two Stewards with white rods, AV., Brothers Benjamin .\. Reynolds and 

David L. Fales. 

The exercises, after :i voluntar}' l)y the band, commenced 
with the followinjr : 


Feixoav Citizens : — From the earliest period it has 1)een 
the custom upon the erection of any gretit pul)lic l)uildino-, 
to set with more or less ceremony a particular stone, wliic-h 
was thereafter known as the chief corner or foiuidtition stone 
of the work. In the course of time this duty came to Ijc per- 
formed 1)V a society whose ora^anization and earlv iiistorr 


is lost in antiquity, but who, despite tlie lapse of time, and the 
opposition of the church and state, has continued to flourish 
until its representatives are to he found in cver}^ part of the 
globe. Upon being requested by those in authority, this 
society has gathered, and with always the same cerenion\-, 
but with varying pomp, have placed the stone in position. 
In tliis countrv the aencral o-overnment lias recoo-nized the 
institution, and upon the building of the capitol, its various 
department edifices, its custom houses, post offices and court 
houses, have generally had a corner-stone laid by this organ- 
ization. The states have at difitrent times followed its 
example, and their various capitols, as well as the city halls 
of various municipalities, have likewise called this institution 
to perform the duty. When our own state built its first 
public monument, the legislature invited the iSIasonic organ- 
izations to come, and they came, brought forth the stone 
and laid it in its place. In view of these facts the commis- 
sioners, who were elected by the city council to erect the 
city hall for the city of Providence, invited the grand master 
of Masons, and the officers and members of the (jrand Lodge 
to place a corner-stone, wilii their j^eculiar ceremonies, in 
tills building, and their action was approved b}^ the city 
council. For that purpose M^e are here assembled, and as 
the presiding officer of the occasion, invited hy the courtesy 
of the commission, it is now my duty, Most Worsliipful 
^Master, to request you to proceed with the work of laj'ing 
tlie foundation of tlie city hall of tlic cit}" of Pro\idence, in 
accordance with tlie rights and usages of our ancient organi- 

The Masonic ceremonies were then begun by the grand 
master commanding silence. Following the invocation by 
the grand chaplain, the invitation of the commissioners to 
the Grand Lodge to lay the corner-stone was read by the 
<rranil secretary, after which Rev. Henry W. Rugg, grand 
clia[>lain, delivered an eulogy upon Masonry, " worthy of the 


occasion nnd the organization in behalf of wliich it was 

Upon the conchision of the eulogy, a h^nm was sung, 
and the casket which was to be deposited beneath the corner- 
stone was produced, and a list of its contents was read, as 
follows : 



1. A silver plate with the followins inscription : This foundation stone 
of a City Hall, erected by the City of Providence, to be occupied for the 
purposes of the muuicipal government, was laid in ample and ancient 
form, according to the usages of tlie fraternity of Free and Accepted 
Masons, on Thursday, June 2i, A. L., 5875, A. D., 1875, by tlie Most 
Worsliipfnl Nicliolas Van Slyck. Grand Master of Masons in Rhode Island, 
assisted by the Most Worshipful (irand Lodge, and the Subordinate 
Lodges in the jurisdictiou. 

R. W., Edwaki) L. Fhekmax, Deputy Orand Master. 

R. W., Thomas Vinckkt, Grand Senior Warden. 

R. W., Joiix Myers, Grand Junior Warden. 

R. W., Cli.vtos D. Sellew, Grand Treasurer. 

R. \y., Edwin Bakeie, Grand Secretary. 


R. "W., Henry A. Pierce; W., Herbert M. Kimball; W., Albert H. Chaffee. 

Ulysses S. Grant, being President of the United States, Henry Lippitt, 
Governor of Rhode Lsland, and Thomas A. Doyle, Mayor of Providence. 


President, Addison Q. Fisher. 
Alfred Metcalf, Addison Q. Fisher, Jolni B. Anthony, 

George T. Spicer, Albert H. Manchester, Nallianiel F. I'otter, 

Abner H. Angell, J. Lippitt Snow, William V. Daboll. 

Amasa M. Eaton, 
Clerk, Samuel W. Brown. 



Elisha C. Mowiy, 
John P. Cooue}', 
John C. I'egrara, 
Sturgis P. Carpenter, 
Abner J. Barnab}', 
Charles F. Sampson, 
Henry A. Cory, 
Archibald B. Rice, 
Jerothnuil B. Barnaby 
George W. Babcock, 
Russell A. Deuison, 
George II. Pettis, 
Hugh Hamill, 
Hiram A. Short, 


President, Francis Cohv 
Stillman White, 
Henry L. Parsons, 
iJexter B. Lewis, 
Edward C. Ames, 
William W. Paine. 
William W. Rickard, 
John W. Briggs, 
Henry C. Bradford, 
William D. Hilton, 
Edwin A. Smith, 
Nicholas A. Fenner, 
Henry R. Barker, 
James J. Nolan, 

Oren Westcott, 
William W Douglas, 
Clinton D. Sellew, 
Thomas A. Millett, 
Francis Colwell, 
William Spencer, 
William S. Hayward, 
Daniel E. Day, 
William S. Johnson, 
Benjamin Hunt, Jr., 
James Ardern, 
William Y. Potter, 
John Morris. 

Clerk, Joshua M. Addeman. 


Abner .T. Barnaby, 
Archibald B. Rice, 
Henry A. Cory, 

Charles A. Nichols, 
Raymond G. Place, 
Addison Q. Fisher, 
William V. DaboU, 

Sturgis P. Carpenter, 
George H. Pettis, 
Abner H, Angell. 


James Y. Smith, Chairman, William G. R. Mowry, George H. Corliss, 
Charles F. Eddy, Secretary. 


Samuel J. F. Thayer. 


Sumner P. Brown. 

2. Silver trade dollar, silver half dollar, silver quarter dollar, silver 
twenty cent piece, silver ten cent piece; nickel live cent piece, nickel three 
cent piece; bronze one cent piece, all of 1875 coinage, in a sealed box. 
Fractional currency, fifty cents, twenty-five cents, fifteen cents, ten cents, 
five cents, three cents, all in a sealed bottle. 

3. Ordinances of the City of Providence. 

4. Resolutions of the City Council for 1873—1-5. 

5. Rules of Order of the Board of Aldermen, 1875. 

6. Rhode Island Manual for 187-t-5. 


7. Providence City jr;niual, 1875. 

8. Piovitlcuce Tax Book, 1S74:. 

!). Providence Directory and Hliode L^Iand BM>iuess Directory and 
Kegister, 1875, 

10. Ueport of City Auditor, for 1874. 

11. Keport of Highway Comiiiissioner.s for 1874. 

12. lieport of School Cotnmittee for 1874. 
18. Report of City Engineer for 1874. 

14. Keport of Fire Department for 1874. 

15. Keport of Chief of Police for 1874. 

1(). Report of Superintendent of l*ul)lic Buildings for 1874. 

17. Keport of Providence Reform School for 1874. 

18. Keport of Superintendent of Lights for 1874. 

19. Seini-.\nuual Keport of City Solicitor. 
•20. Report of Inspector of Millj for 1874. 

21. Fifth Quarterly Report of \Vater Commissioners, June 1st, 1875. 

22. Fifth Report of Board of Water Coinniissioiiers on Sewers. 

23. Report upon Lighting of Street Lamps by Electricity. 

24. Report coucerning a Scheme of Harbor Improvements for Provi- 
dence Harbor and Adjacent Basijis, with proposed Harbor Lines. 

25. Report of .Joint Special Committee appointed to procure Plans and 
Estimates for a City Hall. 

26. Message of the Mayor relating to the Piling and Foundations of 
the City Hall, with acc(nnpanying papers. 

27. Report of City Hall Commissioners to the City Council. 

28. Report of Rhode Island Historical Society, 187S-4. 

2'J. Report of the Trustees of the Rhode Islanil Hospital, 1874. 

30. Report of Providence & Worcester R. R. for 1874. 

31. Report of Boston & Providence R. R., 1874. 

32. Estimates of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Provi- 
dence for the financial year ending September 30, 187G. 

33. Warrant of the Mayor for calling meetings. 

34. Coraniissiou of the Mayor for appointment on the Police force. 

35. City Government of the City of Providence for the year 1875. 

36. Board of Trade Charter, By Laws, Regulations and list of Ollicers 
and Members. 

37. Dorrance and Washington Street Views of the new City Hall. 

38. Piling and Foundation Plans of the new City Hall. 

31t. Granite Plans and Specifications of the new City Hall, 
'40. Iron Plans and Specifications of the new City Hall. 

41. International Exliibition, Fairmount Parl<, Philadelphia, ls7(;; 
Acts of Congress relating thereto; Rules and Regulations, and Descrip- 
tions of Buildings. 

42. Silver and Bronze Centennial Medals. 

43. The following newspapers published in the city of Providence : 
Temple of Honor, June 1st, 1S75; General .Advertiser, June 19th, 1875; 
Providence Suu, June rjth, 1875; Town and Country, June 22d, 1875; 


Providence Evening Press, June 23cl, I87r>; Pi-ovidence Evening Bnllctin, 
June 23il, 1875; Providence Morning Star, Jnue 24tli, 1S7."> ; Providence 
Daily Journal, June 24tli, 187r>, 

44. Proceedings of tlie M. W. Grand Lodge of R. I. for 1870-1. 

45. Proceedings of tlie M. W. Grand Lodge of I!. I. fur 1873-4. 
41). Constitution of tlie M. W. Grand Lodge. 

47. Order of Service for Dedication of Masonic Ilalls. 

48. Order of Service for Constitution of Masonic Lodges. 
40. Masonic Burial Office. 

50. Copies of circulars relating to the Corner-Stone of the City Hall. 

51. Order of Service for laying the Corner-Stone. 

52. Organization of the M. W. Grand Lodge for 1875. 

53. Copy of the Seal of the M. W. Grand Lodge. 

54. Proceedings of Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode 
Island, 1872-3. 

55. Proceedings of Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode 
Island, 1873-4. 

56. Proceedings of Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of 
Rliode Is^land for 18G7-0. 

57. Proceedings of Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Rhode Island, 

58. By-Laws of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, in the town of Providence. 

59. By Laws of Mount Vernon Lodge, No. 4. 
CO. By-Laws of What Cheer Lodge, No. 21. 
01. By-Laws of Corinthian Lodge, No. 27. 

G2. Copy of Freemasons' Repository, June, 1875. 

63. Copy of music sung at Peace Jubilee, 1872, containing also the 
music sung at the laying of this corner-stone. 

64. Copy of the music sung at the laying of the corner-stone of the 
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. 

65. Copy of music sung at the dedication of the same. 

The box contiiiniiio' the aforejjoinj; avticles, which was 
made of cop})er, tin-lined, nine inches wide, seventeen inches 
in length, and eleven inches in depth, was encased in a lead 
casket, and was placed by the grand treasurer, during solemn 
music by the band, in a cavity in the stone upon which the 
corner-stone rests, — the corner-stone being the stone on the 
front of the liuilding, at the corner of Washington street and 
Dorrance street, and is the section of the plinth moulding adja- 
cent to the corner section which extends up Washington street. 

The workino: tools of the order havini;- been presented to 
the appropriate officers, the grand master, accompanied Ity 


tbe deputy grand mastoi'i grand wardens and grand chap- 
lain, approached the corner-stone and si)road the cement 
mider it, and (hn-ing solemn music bytlie hand the stone was 
lowered to its place, stopping twice on its wu}'. At each 
stop a gun was tired, the grand honors 1)eing given at the 
same time, and repeated wiien the stone reached its proper 


O, Thou Intinile and Holy One, God over all blessed for- 
ever, our Father and our Friend, >\e rejoice in Thee as our 
Creator, Ivuler and .ludire. A\'e rejoice in Thee as the source 
of life and the foundation of all ijood. At this time in the 
midst of our solemn ceremonies we pause to lift to Thee our 
desires and our aspirations, our acknowledgments for bles- 
sings conferred, and our petitions for future good. May Tiiy 
si)irit, i^racc and wisdom direct and attend ns now and alwav's. 
A\'e invoke Thy lilessing upon t lie craft here assembled, upon 
liu! grand master of masons and those associated with liim 
in authority, upon the honored executive head of the city, 
and othei's who Iiave large influence and assist in tlie man- 
agement of our municipality, ^la}- they all be directed by 
true ■wisdom and discretion, that their work may result in the 
carryiTig forward of the best interests of this commnnitj'. O 
F\ither, let thy blessings rest tipon these solemn services. 
Grant tliaf those who have charge of th(0)Uilding of this edi- 
fice, the foundation stone of which has just been laid, may 
caiTy forward their work successful!}' ; that here may be 
reared an cditice to rejoice all eyes, one for us to look upon 
and admire, ilay Thy grace rule our fraternity, and insj)ire 
all hearts with wisdom and love, so that llie l)retlircn may 
be drawn together more and more closely by the influence of 
our beloved institution. We invoke Thy blessing in 1)ehalf 
of this city, and for all who reside here, and pray that Thou 
Avouldst direct those who rule and those wiio serve. Preserve 
from accident the workmen who shall lal)or here. Let Thy 


spirit rule and direct all hearts. Sanctify this occasion to 
our individual and common good. And Thine be the glory 
and praise forever. .Vmen. 

After prayer and singing, the square, level and pluml) 
were severally applied to the stone by the projjcr otiicers. 
Mho reported to the grand master that the M'ork had been 
skillfully done. The grand master then approached the 
stone, and irivino- it three blows with his ijavel, a o;un beino; 
tired at each blow, said : 

" The craftsmen having faithfully and skillfully performed 
their duty, I now declare the corner-stone to be iveJl formed, 
true and fnisfi/, laid by us in ample and ancient form, as the 
foundation of a ])uilding to be used by the municipal govern- 
ment of the City of Providence for the jnirposes of the 

The deputy grand master poured corn upon the stone, 
saying : 

"May the Grand Architect of the Universe strengthen and 
sustain the craftsmen while engaged in this important work ; 
and may he ever bountifully vouchsafe the corn of nourish- 
ment to all employed in honest and useful toil." 

The grand senior warden poured wine upon the stone, 
and said : 

"May the Great Giver of all good, enable the craftsmen in 
due time to complete this noble l)uilding; and during their 
intervals from labor may they constantly lie blessed with that 
refreshment of which this wine is emblematical, and maj* the 
government of this city be abundantly prospered in all their 
efforts for the good of their fellow-men." 

The grand junior warden poured oil upon the stone, and 
said : 

"May the blessing of Heaven descend upon this and all 
good works ; and ma}' our loved fraternity long exist to pour 
forth the oil of joy upon the hearts of the widowed, the 
fatherless, aiid the distressed." 

The grand master then said : 


" Mii3'Hlic Supreme Gniiid Architect of the Universe con- 
tinue to protect inul hless tlii.s city; ni;iy He prosper tlic 
l:iii(l:il)le M'orks of all its iniuil)itants ; may He protect the 
workmen employed on tiiis building from every accident, 
and long preserve it from decay ; may He grant to us all an 
ever-bountiful suppl}' of the corn of nourishment, the wine 
of refreshment, and the oil of joy ; and may this goodly city, 
M'here the pure principles of religious liberty were first pro- 
claimed on this continent, exist in peace and prosperity 
through future generations." 

Nine guns were fired, Ijy three times three. 

The grand master returned the working tools to the archi- 
tect, saying : 

" My brother, having as grand master of masons l;ud the 
corner-stone of this structure, I now return to j'ou these 
implements of your profession, congratulating you upon 
bciniT selected for the i)osition vou hold, with full confidence 
that under your direction this building will raise its beautiful 
l)roportions, a 2)roud monument of yoiu- skill and of the 
munificence of our city." 

In obedience to the order of the grand master, the grand 
marshal made })roclamati()n as follows : 

" By order of the Most AVorshipful Urand Master of Masons 
in Rhode Island, I now proclaim the corner-stone of the City 
Ilall of the Cit}' of Providence, to be laid in ample and 
ancient form, according to the customs and usages of Free 
and Accepted Masons. This proclamation I make once, 
twice, thrice, in the South, in the West, and in the I]ast." 

Then was sun<j the chorus beo-innino; : 

" (jlorious i.s tliy name, Almijclity Lord, 
Glorious is thy ii.aiiie, Lord, 
Glorious is tliy name, Almighty Lonl." 

Following the oration delivered by General Horatio Rogers, 

was sung the hymn, "Ilail, Masonry divine,"' and after the 

benediction liy the grand chaplain, the procession was again 

formed and returned to ^lasons' Hall, under escort of Calvary 

Commandery, No. Ki, of Providence. 




McjsT Wortsiiii'FUL GuAXD Masteu, Mu. ISIavoii, and 
Fellow Citizens : 

Christian piety was the corner-stone of this community. 
The name our citj' 1>cars was conferred on the embryo town, 
nearly two hundred and forty years ago, in grateful recogni- 
tion of the Providence of God. Such names of some of our 
streets as Benelit, Benevolent, and Hope, attest the faith of 
our ancestors. Here Eoger Williams and his five compan- 
ions realized that perfect freedom of the soul they had crossed 
the ocean to seek, hut, hitherto, had sought in vain. Here, 
long subsequent!}', was the haven of refuge for sufterers for 
conscience's sake — the olyects of persecution from those who 
had themselves been persecuted, and M'ho should thus have 
learned by their own sulferings the Divine precept of doing 
unto others as they would have others do unto them. When 
that handful of exiles landed on yonder shore, almost within 
sight of where wc stand, the red man haunted the primeval 
forest that shaded them, and the waters of the Seekonk, the 
Mooshausick, and tlie AVoonasquatucket, ran to the sea 
lui vexed by the devices of industry. 

There are certain crises in municipal, as in hnnian aflairs, 
when it is healthful to indulge in some reflections on the 
past, and in some anticipations for the future. When our 
municipality, therefore, is just completing its first hundred 
thousand inhabitants, when it is realizing a fuller measure of 
prosperity than it has ever ))efore attained, and when it is 


a1)otit to rear for its officers and servants new and more ele- 
gant aeeoniniodations, as well as a fitting nionunicnt to its 
thrift, it ma}' not he amiss to jjanse for a moment and weave 
together a few threads of fact, tiiat we may rememher tiie 
name our beloved city bears, and that we may be reminded 
of its appropriateness now, as well as on the day of its first 

1'hough allusion lias been made to the founding of the 
city, I nnist dwell again u})on the grand fundamental prin- 
ciple that drew its early settlers iiither, for it is the boast and 
pride of every true Ehode Islander that his little common- 
wealth, yea, this very spot our eyes now scan, was the Ijirth- 
place and ci'adle of soul-liberty. These are the words of 
Governor AVinthrop, in speaking of our founders: "At 
their first coming thither, Mr. Williams and the rest did make 
an order that no man should be molested for his conscience." 
The code of 1(!47 established for the colony of Providence 
Plantations contains nothinii' ndatinji' to religion, and it 
closes with this significant declaration : "These are the laws 
that concern all men, and these are the penalties for the 
transgression thereof, which, by common consent, are rati- 
fied and established throughout the whole colony ; and other- 
wise than thus what is herein forliidden, all men may walk 
as their consciences persuade them, ever}' one in the fear of 
his God. And let the saints of the Most High walk in this 
colony without molestation, in the name of Jehovah, their 
God, forever and ever." At another time this language was 
used : "Freedom of different consciences to be protected 
from enforcement was the principal ground of our charter, 
* * * which freedom we still prize as the greatest 
hajjpiness men can possess in this world." Such were our 
founders : 

•■Just men tliey secincrl and all tlieir stii<ly bent 
To wor.sliip (Jod !iri;;lit." 

Such, also, wasthe foundation princij)leof this little colony. 


Its utterance was the key-note of frceiloni tlirouffhont the 
Morld. In time it penetrated Massachusetts, which had 
banished our founders for promulgating it. In time, like- 
wise, it pervaded the United Colonies that had once urged 
us to expel the Quakers from our hounds. Now, it has 
become a part of the great common law of all civilized 
nations. Surely, this was an auspicious Ijeginning for a free 

Though such regard was paid to things sacred, secular 
atfairs did not escape the most sturdy attention. Some of 
our citizens, perhaps, who remain away from the polls and 
then criticise and carp at the officers elected, may be inter- 
ested in the fact that during the very lirst year of the settle- 
ment of this community, a tine was imposed on every person 
absent from any town meeting; it being made the duty of 
him "who keeps the books in that month," as the record 
tells us, "to observe and take notice who is wanting, and 
present his name to the town." On the other hand, Mr. 
Alayor, it may reconcile j'ou and some of your brother 
officials to the cares and responsibilities of office, by remem- 
bering that before the town was twenty years of age, it 
passed a law declaring all the inhabitants, though not admit- 
ted freemen, liable to be elected to office, and tinable for not 
serving if elected. 

The little town thus planted in exile, was long buffeted by 
untoward circumstances. At one time the annalist tells us 
that dissension prevailed within it ; at another, during King 
Philip's war, that the fear of Indian depredations drove 
many of its inhabitants away. In 1(')7(5 the savages succeeded 
in burning many houses here, and the town records were 
damaged by tire and then thrown into the river to prevent 
their total destruction. Whoever is familiar with them will 
recall that they still bear the marks of that perilous hour. A 
comparison of a few statistics of the population and material 
wealth of Providence in its earlier days, with those of some 
of the other towns of the State, will .aiford gratifying food 


Ibr reflection, when we likewise compnrc wliat they then 
were, with wluit liiey arc now. In 170,S, tlie date of the 
first census that survives to us, the j)0|iul;ition of the whole 
State was 7,181, divided so f:ir as the tlu'ee most pojiulous 
towns were concerned, as follows: Newport, 2,20;3 ; Trov- 
idence, 1,44G ; and Kingstown, 1,200. Let us stride over a 
few score years before taking another view, thus coming to 
the very eve of the Kcvolutionary War. In 1774, the whole 
State numbered 59,()78 inhabitants, of which this town had 
but 4,321, while Newport had more than twice that number, 
and Scituate lacked but 720, and Glocester but 1,37G of 
equaling the population of Providence. But for the incon- 
trovertible fact, who now would believe that the (juiet, rural 
towns of Scituate and Glocester had ever crowded so hard 
upon what has become this great and populous city ? The 
Revolution seemed to have been the turning point in the race 
for priority, and seven years after the close of that eventful 
struggle when the effects of it had l)egun to be realized, the 
census of 1790 shows that by the decline of one and the 
advance of the other, Newport had but 33(5 more inhabitants 
than Providence, the population of both then being between 
six thousand and seven thousand, while South Kingstown 
and Glocester, the two next most i)opulous towns, had each 
but a few more than four thousand souls. After this Provi- 
dence steadily increased in numbers, distancing all competi- 
tors in the State, and now, simiming up a full hundred 
thousand inhabitants, thus outiuimbering by scores of thou- 
sands all her sister towns, she feels herself to 1)e facile 

Figures are stuljborn facts, and tell their tale with plain 
unvarnished truth. If, without wearying you, I may mar- 
shal a few more statistics before your minds, we shall tind 
the relative proportion of this town's share of the whole State 
or Colony tax fraught with still greater interest. In Octo- 
ber, 1068, of a tax of £300, Newport paid £130, Portsmouth 
£()8, Jamestown and N(!W Shoreham each £211, Kingstown 


£16, and Providence l)ut £10. Neai'ly a century later, in 
175.'), during the Old French AVar, of a Colony tax of 
£70,000, Ne'wport paid £14,000, South Kingstown £.5,200, 
and Providence £4,900. If any of our tax-payers repine at 
their municipal liurdens, and wonder if thei'e ever was a 
time when taxes were low, they have only in fancy to trans- 
port themselves back a hundred and sixty years, for prior 
to 1717 our town tax rarely exceeded $300 ; in that year it 
was $750; but in 1749 it had increased to $8,000, and in 
1757 to $15,000. Such visionaries, however, must remem- 
ber that they are turning the hands of time backward, and 
that then, no noble structures here reared themselves on high, 
no crowded streets were tilled with the bustle of trade, and 
that private enterprise and tiie successful accumulation of 
wealtli Iiad not made the demand for great public imi)rove- 
ments which always precede and stimulate municipal activity, 
and therefore municipal taxation, and which are the surest 
index of private, and hence also of pul)lic prosperity and 

It is a grateful feeling that the present is the highest point 
of success thus far attained, for now there are no regrets for 
a culmination already past, and only the brighest anticipa- 
tions for the future. For this dear city the tide of wealth, 
power, and prosperity is still on the flood. In the lapse of 
time, it is true, the course of its industries has somewhat 
changed. The keels of its whalers no longer plough the 
Arctic Ocean. The teas of China, the spices of the Indies, 
and the ivory of Africa, are no longer brought direct to its 
wharves. The sails of its merchantmen no longer whiten 
every sea. But where one industrial pursuit has forsaken 
us, scores of others have taken its place. The whirling 
spindle and the flying shuttle furnish unceasing music of 
indiistrj'. All kinds of machinery are made here in the 
utmost perfection. At this very moment there is building 
within our limits one of the largest stationary engines ever 
constructed, and whicli is to furnish power at the approach- 


ing centennial celebration of the greatest repn1)li(' of the 
world. Our locomotives haul the car.s of (lifferent nations. 
A foreign power is now arming at our worlvsliops. The 
mechanics of the whole country send hither tlicir orders for 
screws. The women of every clime l)edeck their persons 
and supplement their charms Mith the jewelry of our arti- 
sans ; and the marvelous elegance of our silver ware excites 
the admiration of the most refined tastes throughout our con- 
tinent. In brief, so extensive and so various are tlie indus- 
tries of this comnuniity, that our skill and our lal)(n'])roducc 
alike the most ponderous machines and the most delicate 
mechanisms, the imi)lcnicnts of war, and the ornaments of 

Though this is a period of prolonged and unexampled 
industrial prostration, yet our streets have never before 
exhibited a more ra[)id approach to that city-like compact- 
ness and completeness which all desire may at sometime be 
attained. Imposing business structures and substantial 
Avarchouses everywhere meet the eye. Tlic iiomes of our 
j)coi)le are comfortable, and many of them are famed for their 
ample dimensions and genei'ous hospitality. Numerous 
briilges span our rivers. Spacious hospitals alleviate the 
maladies of both body and mind. An abundant supplj- of 
pure water flows into our houses and past otu* doors. The 
perfection of our police and our fire departments minister at 
once to our pride, and to our protection. IVIany costly 
school houses are provided for tlic education of our ciiiidren ; 
and an university crowns the hill, shedding over us its 
benignant and refining influences. One thing, however, is 
lacking. Nowhere do we find an adec|uate, visible embodi- 
ment of the government of the city. When Athens was the 
State, the historian tells us, "The citizen was every wliere to 
be reminded of the majesty of the State — ids patriotism was 
increased by the pride in her beauty — his taste was elevated 
by the spectacle of her splendor." Enter wliat city of Europe 
you will, be its palaces ever so numerous, or so splendid, you 


cannot fail to be sti'uck with the beauty and the grandenr of 
its Hotel de Vilie, or City Hall. After beholding it you will 
be impressed with the dignity and the power it represents. 

Fellow citizens ! We are about to repair our great defi- 
ciency. With imposing ceremonies we have witnessed the 
laying of the corner-stone of our municipal temple. We 
have seen poured upon it, corn, wine, and oil — emblems of 
nourishment, refreshment, and joy. God grant that there 
may mingle with them, concord, harmony, and peace. 

Our ancestors were simple men with frugal habits, and the 
various accommodations, from time to time provided for our 
public affairs, aflbrd at once an indication of their character, 
and an ilhisti-ation of the growth of the place. In our earlier 
years the town meetings were held in the open air. The 
annual town meeting in June, 1G76, we find, was holden 
" before Thomas Field's house, under a tree l)y the water- 
side," near what is now the corner of South Main and Craw- 
ford streets. Later, the Friends' meeting-house was called 
into requisition. In 1730, the town united with the county 
in building a modest county house, forty by thirty feet 
square, conditioned that the town meetings should be holden 
there. After resorting to various expedients, however, for 
a place for holding town meetings, the town council mean- 
while meeting at private houses and public taverns in a very 
itinerant sort of way, the old town house on the corner of 
College and Benefit streets was purchased, in 1704, of the 
Congregational Society, for the meetings of the town, and, at 
the same time , the town directed the town clerk to keep his otEce 
in the market house chambers, and the town council to hold 
its meetings there. Tims matters continued for more than 
half a century. At last, to make room for the public author- 
ities, tiie masons were ousted from the third story of the 
market house, Avhich they had been permitted to add in 
1797. A little over twenty years ago, this lot, on which we 
stand, was procured, and it was proposed that a City Hall 
should be erected here. Forthwith arose a grand municipal 


uproar, and the question of a City Hall, like a veritable apple 
of Di.scord, convulsed the councils of the city. One measure 
of opposition to the project was the expulsion of the butchers 
from the basement and first Hoor of the market house, and 
adapting the whole building to public uses. This device 
quieted the opposing factions for a season, l)ut the vexed 
question soon again agitated the community. Two years 
ago the city council, not without the strongest opposition, 
voted that this lot should be cleared by a day certain ; while 
the last council firmly and courageously brushed all ol)sta- 
cles aside, ordered and accepted plans, elected commis- 
sioners, and directed that the City Hall should be Ijuilt, 
to use its own phrase, " forthwith." Thus ended one of the 
most bitter and protracted conti'oversies ever known in this 
comtnunity. The opponents of the measure, to whose hon- 
esty of purpose lot all justice be conceded, can at least con- 
gratulate themselves upon rendering an invaluable service 
by the delay they caused, as now a more suitable edifice will 
be erected than would otiierwise have been the case. Placed 
as this is, within a few hundred feet of the geographical cen- 
tre of the city, no section can complain of j)artiality or injus- 
tice in its location. In massive beauty will its walls arise. 
The hurrj'ing traveller can admire its hannonious propor- 
tions as he speeds on his journey. The busy citizen need 
not go out of his course to visit it, presiding, as it will, in 
grace and grandeur, at the head of our largest and most cen- 
tral square. At once the most spacious, the most elegant, 
and the most costly edifice in the community, it will minister 
solely to the pride of no one alone, but of all alike ; and it 
will furnish you, Mr. Mayor, and your honorable associates 
in the government, which represents us all, accommodations 
consonant with the honor and dignity of the offices you hold. 
I need not describe this l)uilding, for, fellow citizens, as it 
belongs to \ou all, the i)lans have ever been, and now are, 
open to the inspection of each one of you. Then, too, the 
progress already achieved, affords the most gratifying assur- 


anoc thiit your commissioners arc mindful of tiie peremptory 
instrnctions of the l)ocly that made them, to " forthwith " pro- 
ceed to the erection of this long wished for structure. Your 
own eyes, therefore, will speedily afford aou the most satis- 
factory information as to its details. 

The city, at last, has set a fitting example to the citizens 
in beautifying the place, in which all have a common interest 
and a common pride. " Give us what is good and what is 
beautiful," was the Spartan prayer. If the genius of our 
government does not permit the ornamenting our avenues 
and squares at the public expense, as in the cities of the old 
world, why should not every private fortune made here con- 
tribute from its abundance a statue or a fountain for the 
public ornament and the public good? In this way our city 
could be adorned. In this way the forms and lineaments of 
our great men would inspire the people with patriotism and 
virtue, while the names of the donors suitably inscribed upon 
the pedestals would go down to posterity in gratitude and 

Fellow citizens, my task is done. If I have dwelt too 
much at length upon the piety and godliness of our founders, 
it was in the hope of exciting your admiration to an imita- 
tion of their example. If I have wearied you with the statis- 
tics of our earlier years, it was to remind j'ou of our wonder- 
ful growth from the small beginnings whence we sprung. 
If I have lingered too long upon the present wealth of our 
industries and >ipon our expansive development, it Avas to 
impress you with a grateful sense of the goodness conferred 
upon us. 

May we never forget that Divine Providence which named 
us in the wilderness, which reared us in adversity, and which 
has showered so many blessings upon us ; and, fellow citi- 
zens, may it never forget us. 






At the iirst meeting of tlie city cotineil held after the 
laying of the corner-stone of the city hall, the following res- 
olutions were passed, and received the approval of the mayor 
on the 12th day of July, 1875 : 

" Kesolved, That the thanks of the city council of the city 
of Providence are hereby tendered to the grand lodge of 
free and accepted masons, for their services in the ceremonies 
of laying the corner-stone of the new city hall, and to Gen- 
eral Horatio Kogers for his able and eloquent oration. 

"Eesolved, That alderman Metcalf, with Messrs. Douglas, 
Hayward and Pettis, of the common council, are hereby 
appointed a committee to wait upon General Rogers and 
request a cop}^ of his oration, and to cause the same, with 
the proceedings of the occasion, to l)c printed for the use of 
the city council." 

September 30th, of the same year, a committee consisting 
of Messrs. Abner J. Barnaby, Dexter B. Lewis, andAVilliani 
Y. Potter, of the common council, with Hon. Thomas A. 
Doyle, mayor, and alderman Addison Q. Fisher, were author- 
ized and directed to procure the proper furniture for, and to 


t"iinii>Ii the new city hall ; and llic sum of fifty thousand dol- 
lars M'as ai)})roj)riated for the jiurpose. 

Siil)sc(iuently comuilman Ilcniy L. Parsons was added 
to the committee, and Decemlier 7, LS 7 7, alderman "William 
S. Ilayward was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the 
resignation of Addison C^. Fisher. Dexter B. Lewis also 
resigned his position jNIarch 17, 1878, when the city council 
added alderman Edmund W.Kaynsford and couiicilmen Still- 
man White, J. Lewis Peirce, James C. Goff, Charles E. Car- 
penter, James B. Winsor and Silas A. Sweet to the connnit- 
tee on furniture. 

On the 2(ith day of March, 1876, a vacanc}' was made in 
the board of connnissioners to build the city hall, by the 
death of Hon. James Y. Smith, notice thereof being com- 
municated to the citv council I)v the mivor the day foUowino' 
his death. 

Mayor's Office, 
City of Pkovidfa-ck, March 

27, 187G. 5 

Gentlemen of (lie C'dij Council: 

The Honorable James Y. Smith died at his residence in 
this city, yesterday morning. 

Seldom, if ever, has it happened to one man in this city- to 
have filled so many positions of public trust as jNIr. Smith 
was called to occupy ; every duty of which was jierformed 
with the most exact fidelity. 

He was Governor of the state from 18(53 to 18G(), and was 
Mayor of Providence from June 4, 18^5, to June 20, 1857. 

At the time of his decease, he was a member of the school 
committee from the second ward ; a commissioner of the 
Dexter Donation, to which office he had been annually elected, 
with the exception of a single }^ear, since June, 1855 ; a 
member of the lioard of commissioners of the cove lands; a 
member of the board of commissioners of siidcing funds; 
a counnissioner to sui)erintend the erection of the city hall, 



and a trustee nm\ev the mortgage of the Providence and 
Springfield Railroad Company. 

His name is rarely found recorded as absent from a session 
ofthese bodies, and in this respect he has left an example 

worthy of imitation. , . , i 

His death is not only a great loss to the city m which he 

lived, but many of tlie largest business interests, both at 

home' and al.road, will miss his wise and prudent counsels. 
The charitable organizations of this city have lost a liberal 

friend, and the poor a generous benefactor. 

Of him it may be truly said, a friend to the friendless, a 

helper to the helpless, and an honest man, has passed from 

''''l recommend, as a mark of respect for his memory, that 
the several departments of the government be closed, from 
ten o'clock, a. m., until two o'clock, P. M., on the day of his 
burial, and that the municipal government attend the funeral 

ceremonies. ,^ 

Thomas A. Doyle, Mayor. 

The message of the mayor having been read, the city 
council unanimously adopted the following resolution :— 

"Resolved, That as a mark of respect to the memory ot 
the late Honorable James Y. Smith, ex-governor of the state 
and ex-mayor of the city, the several departments of the city 
o-overnment be closed on Wednesday, the 29th inst., from 
ten o'clock, a. m., until two o'clock, p. m., the day of the 
funeral of the deceased ; and that the oificers of the city gov- 
ernment attend the funeral ceremonies." 

April 6, 187(5, George H. Corliss tendered to the city 
council his resignation as a member of the commission, 
which was accepted o.i the 13th day of the same month 
when the city council proceeded to elect Scth Padelford and 
Amos C. Barstow to fill the vacancies caused by the death ot 
Mr. Smith and the resignation of :\Ir. Corliss 


In recognition of tiic services rendered by George II. Cor- 
liss, tlie city council inuuiiiuously passed the following reso- 
lution : 

" Resolved, That, regretting the necessit}- which has com- 
pelled the lion. George II. Corliss to resign the office of city 
liull commissioner, the city council hereby tenders to him the 
thanks of the city, for tlie able and valual)le services ren- 
dered l)y him as such commissioner."' 

April 19, 1870, the mayor presented to the city council 
the following mcssajje : 

M.vVoit's Oi'l'iCE, J 

City ov Puovidence, Apiil 11), 187G. ) 

Getitlemen of the Cily Council: 

I have received and transmit herewith, the declinations of 
Hon. Amos C. IJarstow and Hon. Scth Padelford, to accept 
the positions upon the commission to build a city hall, to 
which they were elected by concurrent vote of the two 
branches of the city council. 

It is a matter of public regret that these gentlemen cannot 
serve the city in tlie manner proposed. 

TnoMAS A. Doyle, Mayor. 

ruoviDEXCE, April 15, 1876. 
Hon. Thomas A. Doyle, Miiijnr : 

Dear Sir: — I notice by the jjulilic papers, that tiie city 
council has done me the honor of electing me a member of 
the board of commissioners to build a city hall. 

It was my fortune, as chairman of a committee of the city 
council, to purchase the lot for this use, and also to present 
the first plans for a hall to be erected on it. Though 
twent3^-one years have elapsed, I still feel a lively interest in 
the enterprise, — an interest which I would gladly illustrate 
by accepting this appointment, had not these 3'ears brought 

THE CITY iiArx. 47 

with them a burden of cares, hirgely of a public nature, fully 
taxinij my time, and often crowding my strength. 

I beg vou, therefore, to tender to the city council, with 
my respectful declination of the trust, the assurance of my 
gratitude for this new expression of its confidence. 

Yours, truly, 

A. C. Baustow. 

Provipen'CR, April 17, 187G. 

Hon. Thomas A. Doijlf, 3Iai/or, etc. : 

Dear Sir:— I feel very grateful for the confidence placed 
in me by the city council, in electing me a commissioner for 
tlie l)uilding of a city hall, in place of the lion. James Y. 
Smith, deceased. l' fully appreciate the importance of the 
trust, and tlie unwearied care and faithfulness necessary in 
the performance of its duties. I have made arrangements to 
be absent during a part of the time which would reiiuire my 
presence here, i"t" I accepted the trust in good faith. 

I must, therefore, respectfully decline the same. 
Yours, respectfully, 

Seth Padelford. 

April 27, 187G, Henry G. llussell an.l William M. Bailey 
were elected commissioners to rill the existing vacancies, and 
the Iward organized on the 4th day of May following, by 
the election of William G. 11. Mowry as chairman. 

June 3, 1878, the mayor notified the city council that it 
was anticipated that the city hall would be ready for occu- 
pancy before the end of the year, and recommended tliat a 
committee be appointed to make the necessary arrange- 
ments for appropriate services of dedication to be held when 
it was completed. Acting upon the suggestion of the mayor,^ 
a committee of arrangements was appointed, consisting of 
Messrs. Henry R. Barker, Jerothmul B. Barnaby and Charles 

48 TITF, f'lTV HALL. 

E. Carpenter, of the common council, M'itli aldermen Elisha 
C. Mowrv and George T. C'liacc. 

The committee apjiointcd to make the arrangements for 
proper services at the dedication, organized by the election 
of Henry R. Barker, chairman, and extended the following 
invitation to Hon. Abraham Payne to deliver the oration : 

PuoviDKXCK, .Tuly 2C, 1878. 
Hon. Abraham Payne : 

Dear Sir : — The new city hall is to be dedicated some- 
time in October, and I ani instructed by the joint special 
committee of the city council to make arrangements therefor, 
consisting of Prof. Chace, Messrs. Henry K. Barker, J. B. 
Baniaby, Charles E. Carpenter and myself, to invite you 
to deliver the address on the occiision. It is the intention of 
the council to linve the dedication in keeping with the char- 
acter of the building; and it is the unanimous opinion of 
the committee that no person now li\iiig who has been con- 
nected with the city government is capable of doing greater 
honor to the occasion than j'ourself. 

Please inform nie at ^-our earliest possible convenience 
whether your business engagements and inclination will allow 
us to name j'ou as the orator of the occasion. 
Very respectfully, etc., 

E. C. MowRY. 

I'Roi-n.ic Hoi'SK, N. H., July 30, 1S78. 
E. C. Mownj, Esq. : 

Dear Sir : — I received yours of the 2(>th, last evening, 
and am gratified by the invitation which it contains. Being 
out of practice in woi-k of this kind, and my hands being 
rather full of professional work just now, I have had some 
hesitntion in accejiling, but, rnshly ])erh:ips. have decided to 

TilE CITY HALL. 4!1 

try. Plcaso cxpvcs.s my thanks to the coininitteo for the 
honor implied in their invitation. Exeuse an informal reply 
to your kind note. 

Very truly yours, 

Abraham Payxe. 

October 29, 1878, was tixed by the city council for the 
day of dedication, Avhich was subsequently postponed to 
Thursday, November 14, 1878. 



On Tliursdiiy, Novoinl)ei- 14, 1878, the city council and 
invited guests assembled at the old city building on Market 
square, and at 10.30 o'clock, a. m., a procession was formed 
under the direction of Henry V. A. Joslin, Chief Marshal, 
in the following order, and marched to the city hall by the 
way of Westminster and Dorrance streets : 

Police Skirniisliers. 

Chief Miirshal, Henry V. A. Josliu. 


Williaiii W. Nichols, Aurioii V. Chevcrs. 

Aineiican Band, D. W. Reeves, leader. 

Police Department of Providence, under command of Deputy Chief, 

John T. Brown. 


Henry U. Barker, Chairman. Jerothmul B. Barnaby, Charles E. Carpen- 
ter, Elisha C. Mowry, Geoi-ge I. Chace. 


AViUiam G. R. Mowry, Chairman, Henry G. Russell and William M.Bailey. 

Clerk of the Commissioners, Daniel W. Vaughan. 

Architect, Samuel J. F. Thayer. 

Superintendent, Sumner P. Brown. 


Hon. Abraham Payne. 


Rev. E. G. Robinson, D. D., and the Rt. Rev. T. F. Hendricken, D. D. 

co:mmittee to trocure plans for the city hall. 

Abner .1. Barnal)y, Chainnan.* Couneilmen Stnrgis P. Carpenter, Archibald 

B. Rice, Raymond G. Place, George H. Pettis, and Henry A. Cory. 

Aldermen Addison Q. Fisher, Abner H. Angell, and William V. Daboll. 

* Mr. Ilariuiby was also cliainiiaa of the coiaiuittt-c to procure furniture for the city hall. 




Messrs. SUUinan White, J. Lewis Peirce, James C. Gotl". .Tamos B. Win- 

sor, Silas A. Sweet, William Y. Potter, from tlie Council, 

and Messrs. Edmund W. Rayusford and William S. 

ILiyward, from the Board of Aldermen. 


Edward S. Khodes. 


Tlioinas A. Oojie. 


.Tabez C. Kniifht, George L. Clarke, and Edward P. 

Amos C. Barstow 


George P. Tow 


James C. Hidden, John N. Francis, Nelson W. .Aklrich, Nicholas Van 
Slyck, Horatio Rogers, Francis Colwell. 


William S. Ilayward, President. 
Elisha C. Mowry, George T. Spicer, Nicholas A. Fcuner, 

George I. Chace, William Spencer, Dutee Wilcox, 

Benjamin W. Persons, Robert E. Smith, Edmund \V. R.iynsford. 

Samuel W. Brown, City Clerk, and Clerk of the Board. 


Charles P. Robinson, Presitlent. 

Stillman White, 
Elisha S. Aldrieh, 
John P. Coouey, 
Joseph Whelden, 
James Lewis Peirce, 
J. Carter B. Woods, 
Jeremiah S. Parish, 
Thomas A. MiUett, 
Arthur F. Dexter, 
James C. Gofl', 
Arnold Green, 
Charles F. Sampson, 
George A. Steere, 

Henry B. Franklin, 
.lames McNally, 
John W. Briggs, 
Thomas J. Hill, 
Charles E. Carpenter, 
William Cyrus Barker, 
Thomas M. Rounds, 
Stephen C. Arnold, 
Daniel E. Day, 
George H. Burnham, 
.Jerothmul B. Baruaby, 
Andrew Winsor, 
Frederick M. Ballou, 

James B. Winsor, 
Raymond G. Place, 
Silas A. Sweet, 
Edmund S. Hopkins, 
Leonard F. Joslin, 
George A. Rickard, 
William W. Bray ton, 
Henry R. Barker, 
William 11. Shattnck, 
Joseph F. Brown, 
John M. Brennan, 
.John Belian, 
Harrison G. Macomber. 

Joshua M. Addcman, Clerk. 

* All the members of the board of aldermen and common council for 187S are here 
printed as a matter of record, though several of them murclied in the position assigned to 
the committees of whicli they were also members. 


United States officials. 

State officials. 

City officials. 

Es-menibers of the BoarJ of Aldermen 

E.x-raenibers of the Common Council. 

Other invited guests. 

On the arriviil of the pfoccssioii ;it the city h:ill, the police 
formed in two ranks at open order froni the main entrance to 
the door of the council chamber, and the remainder of tlie 
lirocession marched into, and took the seats on the floor of 
the council chamber. The balcony was reserved for ladies. 

Henry R. Barker, Escp, chairtnan of the committee of 
arrangements, presided, and announced tiie foUowinir order 
of exercises : 


Music, Amkkican Band. 

Description of the building, Samuel J. F. Tiiaykk. 

Music, Ameuicax Band. 
Presentation of keys, 

AViLLi.vM G. R. MownY, Esq., Ciiahimax of City Hall Commission-. 

Response, His Honor Thomas A. Doyle, Mayor. 

Music, Amkrican Band. 

Dedicatory Prayer, Rkv. E. G. Robinson, D. D. 

Music, Ameuicax Band. 

Oration, Hon. Abiiaiiam Payne. 

Music, American Band. 

Prayer and Benediction, Rt. Rev. T. F. Hendkicken, D. D. 

After appropriate music by the l)and, Mr. Thayer, the 
architect, was introduced by the chairman, and gave a descrij:)- 
tion of the building, as follows : — 

Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the City Hall Commission, Ladies and 
Genthmen : 

On the 12th of September, 1874, I received the following 
telegram : 
" Come to Providence by first train. 

Abner .T. Barnaby, Chnirwan." 

From that moment to this, my connection with this work 
has been close and continuous. A little more than a month 


later I was invited l)y the tirst commission to confer witii 
them, and directly afterward was duly appointed architect. 

"Work was commenced without delay, "i'he j)cculiar exi- 
gencies of the situation at that time demanded of all the 
agents of the city the utmost eflbrt to cany into execution this 
puVdic work, which, I am informed, had been mooted for 
nearly thirty years. 

The ground upon which this l)uilding stands is of artiticial 
formation, and few massive structiax's stand upon so tieach- 
erous and variable a base. The soundings and I)orings 
Avhieh we caused to be made, developed the fact that the 
safest levels varied from seventeen to forty-seven feet below 
mean high watermark. 

Those familiar with l)uil<ling will at once understand the 
profound studj' and care required to successfully construct a 
sub-structure carrying thirty-six thousand tons. AVe present 
j-ou a completed building, to-day, absolutely without a 
fracture from settlemcmt. 

During this and all the subsequent work 3-()Ur city has had 
the benelit of the services of Mr. Sumner P. Brown, who has 
had the immediate oversight of the work, and to whose 
sound judgment and capacity both you and I are indebted. 

The foundations are comj)osed of three thousand one hun- 
dred and twenty-eight piles, driven into hard-pan at the various 
satisfactor}- levels found, and cut otl' at two and lifty one-hun- 
dredths feet below high water, thus securing their constant 
submersion, Mhich is a condition of })ermanency ; al)ove this 
and to the sidewalk level are walls of block granite. Tlie 
superstructure is of cut granite, backed by a vaulted brick 
■wall in all its external parts, and in its interior by similar 
Avails of brick alone. These, as a rule, ai-e of great thick- 
ness, and secure lateral strength, a fundamental principle of 
somid building. The floors throughout arc built with iron 
beams or girders, rolled beams for the smaller, :uid girders 
of plate and angle iron for the larger spans. The spaces 
between are filled with brick arches. The roof and dome 


are unique, but not experimental in their construetion. 
Upright rafterri carry purlins of T iron, in which are titted 
slabs of concrete ; these are covered with slate and copper, 
according to their slope ; its form is exceedingly simple, and 
is a perfect water-shed for the building. 

The general plan of the l)uilding is simple and organic, a 
rectanorle of one hundred and thirtv-four l)v one hundred and 
sixty feet, divided l)y four intersecting walls, forming the 
central hall in the middle, and business apartments on the 
outer lines. While this arrangement has been criticised as 
■wasteful of area, it should I)e remembered that the l)uilding 
is too large to be successfully lighted in its central part in 
any other Avay. The plan admits of the application of the 
simplest and soundest principles of construction. It is pop- 
ularly supi)oscd that the plans have been largely changed ; as 
a matter of fact the plan is the same as presented to the com- 
mittee of your city government in 1<S74, with only modifica- 
tion of detail and assignment. No vital part has been 
chano-ed. Such chano-es as have been made were sure to 
come in any undertaking of magnitude intended for the 
accommodation of so many and so varied uses. The "promise 
of ultimate perfection," given in the report of the committee 
of 1S74, we sincerely hope may be realized when all the 
departments of the government are in operation in the build- 

The architectural character I have undertaken to give this 
building is a simple rendering of the rennaissance, adopted 
because of its natural tending to symmetrical arrangements, 
and the fact that in the chief capitols of the world this style 
has been most widely adopted for civic and monumental edi- 
fices. Great pains have been taken to make it plain and 
enduring. In its exterior, decorative work has ))cen spar- 
ingly used, but when used, careful drawings and models have 
been prepared, to adapt the detail to the hard, unyielding 
character of the material. Therefore, you will see in its 
pediments and capitals coarser and stronger work than would 


1)c used in a softer stoiio. Books have been studied ; author- 
ities consulted ; wc have tried to produce you a buikling 
which, in time, at least, shall command your respect. 

Tiie interior is, of course, in harmony with the exterior, 
witli much greater elal)oration of detail, and a decided change 
to color treatment. The general plan I have already 
described. Xoticcal)lc. I thiidv, is the orderly and spacious 
arrangement of all the apartments, the corridors, and the 
public room. The points of supj)ort are marked, and are 
never disturbed in their jwjwer. Here, as elsewhere, we 
have taken pains to do our best, and arc indebted to intelli- 
gent artisans for tlu; skillfid manner in which our projects 
have been executed. Notwithstanding the ap])arent elabo- 
ration of the interior, we shall claim that the etl'ects produced 
came from the subordination of ])arts to the whole. Real 
(juality has lieen sought. 1 will illustrate by stating that 
the room in which we now are, is, beneath 3'our feet, on all 
sides and oxerliead, of solid masonry. No fragile or uncer- 
tain materials an; uscul. 

Ground was broken in October, 1<S74, and from that time 
forward the Mork has been executed as rapidly as its magni- 
tude would permit, and \\i(lifew cxcei)tions has been con- 
tinuous. The lirst conmiission directed and aided me in a 
manner that enabled me to perform my professional duties 
with great satisfaction. My relations with its honored chair- 
man. Gov. Smith, were necessarily intimate. I am sure 
others in this service will do him better honor than I can, 
but I do say a more earnest and cajjable servant the public 
could not have. The gentlemen of the late conunission, 
have, in conmion with the tirst, had no holiday task. With 
the frc(iuent ()i)position of the city council, with a strong 
minority if not an actual majority of the public against the 
project, it has l)een an e|)ic of trouble. All these gentlemen 
have my profoundest thanks for their co-operation, for their 
courtesy and kindness. By these and their act appointing 
me, I shall he able to i)oinf to a work that I warmly hope 


will prove useful and 1)eneficiiil to this eoinuiunity, whose 
enterprise and inteilijTcnce deserve the best work of its ser- 
vants, head and hand. 

During- the progress of the work I was honored by your 
eonunittee on furniture, by being employed to supervise the 
furniture and the littings. The laborious work they have 
done I am sure will eoniniend itself. The utmost priidenec 
and business attention has l)een used, and we present you 
eomplete and useful furniture for a mininuun expenditure. 

Upon the conclusion of Mr. Thayer's address, another 
selection was rendered l)y the band, after which Mr. Mowry, 
chairman of the city hall commission, was introduced, and 
presented the key of the building to the mayor, .speaking as 
follows : — 

Mr, Chairman ami Fdloin Cilixcus : 

On the 5th day of October, 1874, the city council created 
a eonunission to build a new city hall, electing as the mem- 
bers thereof, the late James Y. Smith, George H. Corliss, 
and its pi'esent chairman ; and on the third day following, 
passed an ordinance prescribing their duties. Having organ- 
ized by the choice of Gov. Smith as chairman, the commis- 
sioners proceeded at once to the task before them. Proposals 
for the foundation were immediately issued, and the work was 
l)Ushcd forward with such vigor that, witiiiu ninety days of 
the taking of the oath prescrilied for the conunissioners, all 
the princii)al contracts, that is to say, contracts for the granite 
work, for the brick, lime and cement, for the laying of the 
same, and for the iron work were let out, and the work on 
the building itself was rapidly progressing. The commis- 
sioners have striven through evil and through good report, 
to perform faithfully the great task imposed upon them. 
That task has l)een no holiday task : and the position of the 
commissioners, fettered as they have been by restrictions 
and technicalities, and harassed by the opposition and 


unfriendly criticism to which they have been constantly sub- 
jected, has often been far from an agreeable one. But now, 
at the end of four years, they have accomplished their work, 
and we are, to-daj', assembled within the completed edifice. 
It would be impossible in the prosecution of a w ork of such 
magnitude to avoid mistakes and oversights, and your com- 
missioners are sensible that they have not entirely steered 
clear of them. But whatever mistakes or oversights may be 
chargeable to them, no one who at all knows whereof he 
speaks, can say that any member of the commission from the 
beginning, either in accepting his appoint nicnt or in the pros- 
ecution of the work, has been actuated by motives selfish, 
impi'opcr or inconsistent with the public good. It is a source 
of regret that the buildinj? has not been finished within the 
original estimates, a fact owing in great part to changes in 
the original [)lan deemed necessaiy or desirable b}' the city 
council as the work advanced. Had there been an earnest, 
cordial, unanimous co-operation on the part of the govern- 
ment throughout the entire work, your commissioners believe 
that a large saving could have been made in the cost. As it 
is, they believe that no i)ublic building can be found in the 
country that can make a better showing for the expenditure 

Throughout the whole work they have had the earnest, 
active, and enthusiastic co-operation and services of the arch- 
itect, whose careful attention and sound judgment have 
enabled them to erect the building witliout a single failure in 
construction. The building itself, in its plan, finish and 
decoration, utters a more fitting, eloquent and impressive 
tribute to his ability, taste and skill, than it would l)e possible 
to utter in words. In the superintendent, Mr. Sumner P. 
Brown, who has been over the work from the beginning, the 
commissioners have had a most watchful and efficient coad- 

More than two years ago the original commission was 
broken bv the decease of Gov. Smith, and the retirement of 


Mr. Corliss. In the loss of these two able men, both the 
commission and the city ^ycrc unfortumito. Groat credit is 
due to each ; but it is not too much to say that it was 
mainly to the persistent and untiring energy, the great 
practical skill, and the large experience of Gov. Smith as a 
builder, that the rapid progress of the work, in its earlier 
stages," is attributable. And now, Mr. jMajor, the commis- 
sioners gladly lay down the burden which came to them 
imsonght, and deliver these keys to you as the chief execu- 
ti\e of the city. 

To these remarks Ma^'or Doyle made the following 
response : — 

Gentlemen of the City Hall Commission : 

To serve the public is not always an agreeable task, and 
your experience as commissioners has proved this truth. 

You have alluded to the restrictions which have been 
imposed upon you, and the opposition with which 30U have 
been met in your endeavors to protect the interests of the 
city ; but these things are incident to the public service, and 
you have not swerved from what you regarded as the line of 
your duty in consecpienee thereof. 

It has been the policy of the executive to lighten your 
labors, and as far as possible to aid you in the performance 
of your duties, and I now sincerely congratulate you upon 
the successful completion of this building, and the near 
approach of the time Avhen 3'ou will present to the city coun- 
cil your linal report. 

I accept the key of the city hall as the evidence that the 
building is now ready for the transaction therein of the busi- 
ness of the municijiality, and as the representative of the 
citizens of Providence, I thank you for the service you have 


Mr. City Messcngrr : 

For more tbiiii seventeen years yon have diseliarirecl the 
dnties of yonr ofKee with soruiiulous fidelity , and yonr annual 
re-eleetion thereto has Jicen most justly deserved. The city 
council has imposed upon your oflice tiie "care and superin- 
tendence " of this structtu-e, and the duty of "keeping its 
various rooms clean and in good condition and repair." I 
therefore transfer this key to you with full confidence that so 
long as you hold the position of city messenger, the ncAv 
dnties which have been placed upon the office will be prop- 
erly executed. 

Fdlorc Citizens : 

In October, 1874, ^vit]lin six months of the annual muni- 
cipal election, a resolution passed both branches of the city 
council to erect the building in which Me arc assembled. 
The resolution was promptly returned bj- the ma^or Avithout 
his ai)proval. The objections whicli he urged against its 
j)assage were as jiromptly overruled by the two branches, 
and although tin; resolution w^nt into effect, the objections 
have not lost their force b\' the lapse of time. In the veto 
message the maycn* said : " If the tax-payers of this cit}', by 
whom alone the members of the two branches of the city 
council ai"e elected, and who are to bear the biu'den of this 
measure, shall by a i-e-clection endorse the action of the 
majority, then there can l)e no longer any excuse for delay- 
ing the i)roposed work, as a chief executive who is chosen by 
a larger constituency would hardly deem it to I)e his duty to 
oppose the expressed will of the tax-payers." 

At the ensuing election a majority was re-elected to each 
branch of the members who had voted for the city hall, and 
the tax-payers thereb}^ signified their approval of the work 
which had already cominonccd, and was being vigorously 

From thai time until now, I have had but one object in 
view as rciiards llie citv hall, and that was to secure to the 



city the full value for tlie expenditure made here, and to 
perfect the interior arrangements of a building which is 
intended to accommodate the muni(ii)al departments of Prov- 
idence for generations. 

The huilding of the city hall was approved by the tax- 
payers, and to them alone belongs the responsibility of the 
expenditure. They ratified the acts of their representatives 
at a time when the work could have l)cen stopped, and it 
was right and proper that they should by thousands inspect 
and admire their building before it was dedicated to the uses 

of the government. 

This structure will stand as a memorial of the taste, the 
skill and the ability of the architect, and of the faithful 
superintendence of the overseer, who lias watched its prog- 
ress from the beginning until its completion. 

It is a pleasure to know, that both in the superstructure 
and the furnishing, the various contractors have labored to 
place here a work, to which they could point with just 
pride as evidence of excellence in their craft. The city hall 
of Providence, which for more than a generation has been a 
subject of discussion in the city council, has been erected, 
and takes high rank among the magnificent structuivs of the 
land. Let us hope that the members of the government who 
shall from time to time hold the various i)laces of trust 
within this building, may be as true to the city which they 
represent, and as faithful to her interests as the walls which 
surround them are permanent and enduring. 

After appropriate nnisic, Dr. Eobinson then offered the 
following dedicatory prayer : — 

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast prepared 
Thy throne in the heavens ; who hast established in the 
earth the kingdom of Thy Son, which cannot be moved, 
grant unto us, we humbly beseech thee, Thy Iieavenly grace, 
^vhereby we ma}^ in the ofSces for which we are now asscm- 


bled, serve Thee acceptaljly, with reverence and godl_y fear. 
"We thank Thee for all the events of the past hy which in 
Thy srood providence Thou hast brought our city to its 
present estate ; that Thou hast preserved it from the pesti- 
lence that walketli in darkness, and from the destruction 
that wasteth at noonday ; that Thou hast multiplied its citi- 
zens and their wealth ; that Thou hast caused knowledge 
among us to be increased, civilization to be advanced, and 
instruction in religion and rigiiteousness to l)e provided for all. 

We give Thee most hearty and humble thanks for our 
holy religion, and for the form of government under which we 
live ; for equal rights, for just laws, and for liberty of con- 
science ; for all our institutions, political, judicial, educa- 
tional, religious and ciiaritablc, and for all tiie l)enign 
influence which these institutions are now exerting in our 
common life. Peri)etuate, we pray Thee, all that is good in 
these institutions so long as our city shall endure. 

Let Thy blessing, most gracious God, now rest on this 
statel}^ structure, and on all the varied offices to which it is 
henceforth to be sacred. Let justice ever reign within these 
walls. Make Thou those who sliall here legislate, and those 
who shall here execute laws, and those who here shall seek 
the law's protection, alike remember Thee, the one great 
Law Giver, at whose bar every living soul shall give account 
of itself and its deeds. Preserve Thou these halls from the 
curse of demagogism, and of unscrupulous partisanship, and 
from ever}' species of peculation and official infitlelity. IMa}^ 
these walls, so fair and majestic as seen from without, ever 
truly symbolize to the beholder tlic majesty and purity of 
the laws administered from witliin. If consistent witli Thy 
holy will, make Thou the government of this city to l)e ever 
administered by men of known integrity of purpose, and of 
recognized purity of life. 

Preserve Thou, we humbly i)ray Thee, this structure till 
manv ffenerations shall have come and gone, and make it the 


seat and centre of a government which, wisely and faithfully 
administered, shall fulfill all Tli\' gracious will. 

Endue with heavenly wisdom, we beseech Thee, all mem- 
bers of our present city government. j\Iay they who frame 
and they who enforce onr laws so fultill all their obligations 
that vice among us shall be suppressed, that crime shall be 
punished, that virtue shall be fostered, that order shall be 
maintained, and peace and safety I)e secured to all. 

And now, O, Thou Sole Ruler of our race, who holdest 
the destiny of all peoples within Thy grasp, so fill our hearts 
with the spirit of Thy gospel that we may in sincerity seek 
Th}- blessing, not oul}- in the city and State in which we 
dwell, ])ut in every portion of our broad country. Forgive, 
Thou, all our national iniquities ; heal. Thou, all our national 
diseases ; redeem ovir national life from destruction, and 
crown us with lovin'g kindness and tender mercies, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. And now may great grace, mercy 
and peace be multiplied in all our hearts and homes, we 
humbly ask, in the name and for the sake of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. 

At the conclusion of the prayer the band rendered an 
ajipropriate selection, after which Hon. Abraham Payne 
delivered the following oration : 




Ml!. Mayor, Gentlemen of the Citv Goveknmbnt, Fel- 
low Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen : 

Etirly in tlie year sixteen hundred and thirty-six John 
Hampden, then little more than forty years old, resolved to 
resist the pa^'ment of ship-money, and thus distinctly raised 
the issue whether the Kin<r or the Commons should have 
supreme control in England, (^n the same day his cousin, 
Oliver Cromwell, then lhirt\'-seven years old, and almost 
unknown, was writing a letter in which something may be 
read of the temper which, in due time, was to array Puri- 
tanism against Xorman chivalry, and raise his country to 
heights of glory and virtue from which not even the dis- 
graceful era of the Eestoration could M'holh^ take her down. 
All this time John Milton, a youth of twenty-eight years, 
fresh from the university, and residing under his father's 
roof, was oatherins' strenirth for that defence of liberty with 
which all Europe was to ring from side to side, and for that 
poem which, composed in blindness and old age, the world 
will not willingly let die. 

In the same year, probably in the month of June, Roger 
Williams, then about thirty years old, witli his companions 
in exile, landed here and named the place Providence. 
From that time until his death he Avas encaofed in what was 
afterwards described as a " lively experiment how a most 
flourishing State may stand, and be I)est maintained witJi a 
full liberty in religious concernments." The theatre of his 


action, a liniifcil Icri'iloiy on tlio slioivs of Narrngansctt 
ha}' ; liis work, to pi-otcci liis own ]i("o|)l(' in (Iicir rijilits, 1)V 
pcacofiil negotiations witli the Indians, and firm resistance 
to the encroacliments of Massachusetts on the one side and 
Connecticut on the other. lie was not so conspicuous a man 
as Hampden, or Cromwell, or Milton, but perhaps for useful 
service no one of them was better entitled to the lasting 
gratitude of mankind. 

If he could visit us to-day he might come in a palace car 
and notice the change in the mode of locomotion since his 
time. lie would ol)serve the thrift, industry and wealth, 
which mark the valley of the Blackstone. He might from 
Prospect Terrace look down u[)on si scene which would pro- 
voke fiu-ther inquiry. Passing by the University on his way 
to Slate Kock he Avould compare the residences of our citi- 
zens with the homes of the early settlers, and arrivi-d at the 
spot where he was first greeted with " A\'liat Cheer ! " he 
would not ([uitcf understand what is going on there, and 
would turn his stejjs to the Narragansett Hotel, and be glad 
to find that, at last. Providence has amjjle provision for the 
entertaimuent of strangers. lie would soon receive a call 
from the mayor, delighted to show him the modern improve- 
ments, all of which he knows, and great i)art of which he is. 

As proper sanitary regulations li(! at the foundation of 
municijjal prosperity, he would doubtless first direct his 
attention to the sewers and water works, and if compelled 
to admit that these could I)e improved, he would yet justly 
claim that they were equal to those of any city in the world. 
He would then examine the condition of the streets and 
highways, and of the street-cars and of their horses, and see 
that in tio city are the people better provided for in these 
respects. He would observe that tiie fJas Company, free 
now from tniwholesome competition, was yet wise enough to 
furnish good light uj)on reasonable terms. He would next 
look at the i)r<)vision made for the education of the ptiople ; 
and as he surveyed fli(> publi<' school-houses and was informed 


of the nature of the instruction given in them lie niiglit ask 
upon what principle the ]ieople could he taxed to provide for 
such ample education in the higher hranches. The ma_yt)r 
Avould tell him that the suhject had been fully discussed, and 
the system cordiall}' supported b^^ the great mass of the 

He \vould notice the private schools, including the 
Friends' School, and tinally the University, where young 
men are trained for professional service, and where, I hope, 
at no distant day, the young maidens may have a chance. 
Then the charitable institutions — the Butler Hospital minis- 
tering to the mind diseased ; the Kiiode Island Hospital 
caring for the ills that flesh is heir to ; the Dexter Asylum 
for the poor who are always with us ; the provisions for 
orphan and neglected infancy ; the Homes for destitute old 
age. Then the churches — from the chsipel where the wor- 
shippers hardly believe in a God, to the cathedral where the 
faithful believe all that the church teaches — including all 
forms of faith — all working peacefully together and each 
more intent on right living than upon doctrinal teaching. 
And all these institutions, surrounded by thousands of homes 
in which the domestic virtues are the sources and safeguards 
of domestic happiness, might convince him that his lively 
experiment has proved a grand success. If there is another 
side to this picture, if sin and sutfering are still among us, 
Ave arc to rememl)er that, with all these appliances at our 
hands, we ought as individuals to use our best exertions for 
the reformation of the vicious and the relief of the unfortu- 

Mr. Knowles, in the ))refacc to his Life of Ivoger Williams, 
expresses his regret that there was then no good history of 
the State of Rhode Island. His own work went far to sup- 
l)ly the defect, and the well worn copy in the Athenieum 
attests the interest of the people in the subject. There is 
no longer any ground for such complaint. In addition to 
many valuable contributions to the history of the State, of 


local and special inti'ivst, tlioro arc (hrcc sources of informa- 
tion worthy of mention. 

The History of Kbodo Island, hy Sanuiel (i. Arnold, tlic 
result of patient industry and conscientious research, stimu- 
lated and sustained liy enlisrhtened and generous ,sym|)athy 
with the people and institutions of the state, ina\- always I)e 
consulted with conHdence, and it is gratifying to know that 
the call for repeated editions is the indication of a just appre- 
ciation of the work. 

The Annals of rro\idence, l>y \\'iiiiam R. Staples, is a 
work of rare and peculiar merit. Disdaining all rhetorical 
ornament the author tells the story of the settlement and 
growth of the town of I'rovidenco with fullness, accuracy 
and candor, and yet reveals on every page his warm and 
abiding love of lil)erty, his calm and linn fidelity to con- 
science, and his concentrated iiatred of tyranny and persecu- 
tion. There ought to be a new edition of this work in such 
form that every Providence hoy and girl could have access 
to it, and make the study of it an essential part of education. 

The works of Job Durfee are a mine of historical research 
and philosophic thought which the intellect of the state may 
Mork to advantage. IJhode Island never had a wiser friend. 
Some of those whom I now address can remember the great 
magistrate as he pn^sided in the Supreme C'oiut : calm and 
courteous in manner, modest in his estimate of himself', and 
yet conscious of an ability competent to deal with the higliest 
problems of jurisprudence, his judgments nut the ajjproval 
of Whipple, .Vtwell, Cari)enter, Ames, and the other 
instructed counsellors who contended in his tribunal. His 
lectures upon the Indians, his lecture before the Rhode 
Island Historical Society, his oration before the Phi lieta 
Kappa Society, illustrate the okl detinition of history : 
" philosojihy teaching by exanii)les." His charges to the 
grand jury were a revelation to the people of the true origin, 
functions and authority of the state. Whoever aspires to 
serve Rhode Island at the bar, on the bench, in congress, or 



in the general assem1)ly, should make a careful study of the 
works of Jol) Durfee. 

I do not propose to detain you with a narrative of events 
in the history of the state or of the city. More skillful 
hands than mine have been emplo^-ed in that work. Nor 
shall I disturl) the old controversies, now nearly at rest, 
about the banishment of Roger Williams. I have from time 
to time read much upon that subject, and it is, for the most 
part, a wearisome and profitless study. Nor shall I here 
controvert or defend the abstract doctrine which is known 
under the name of " soul liberty." Abstract propositions 
about government may no doubt have a certain value ; but, 
after all, government is " a ccnitrivance of human wisdom to 
provide for human wants."' It must be confessed that the 
supply of wisdom has not always been equal to the demand, 
but it may be doubted whether the deficiency can be sup- 
plied l)y theory. Catharine of Russia remarked to a philos- 
oplicr who was instructing her in the art of government : 
" that is all very well for you ; you work upon paper which 
can make no resistance ; I have to deal with the human skin, 
which is ticklish at times." 

It is not many days since I listened to some eminent 
divines from Massachusetts discoursing in this city about 
Roger Williams, and I amused myself with what he might 
have said if permitted to take part in the discussion. " Paint 
me as I am," was the stern command of Cromwell to the 
artist. He expressed the natural feeling of every strong 
man. " Do not trouble yourselves," Roger Williams might 
saj-, " about those old quarrels between me and the brethren 
in ilassachusetts. They were never an important part of 
my life, and they are now of no consequence at all. Nor do 
I attach any great importance to my writings, or to any opin- 
ion which I may have entertained, or expressed, upon 
abstract or difficult questions of theology, or al)out the rela- 
tions and powers of church and state. It is well to have 
these collected in handsome volumes, for the examination of 



those wlio m:iy be eurious in such things, as it is well to 
open ]):irks and build monuments in m^' honor. I am orate- 
ful ibr these things, but 1 base my claim to the attention of 
this generation upon other grounds. Whatever may have 
been the cause or the justification, those people in Massachu- 
setts certainly did send me away. I journeyed for fourteen 
weeks in the wilderness, not knowing w hat l)read or bed did 
mean, and I lost neither my courage nor my temper. I came 
here, antl dealt honestly with all men, savage oi' civilized. 
I purchased territory of the Indians, and I allowed my asso- 
ciates to share in the jiurchase. I offered a welcome to men 
of all opinions, and they gathered around me. I so won the 
confidence of the Indians that in their wildest raids they 
would not hurt a hair of my head, and I was able again and 
again to save the conimunities, who would not tolerate my 
presence, from the tomahawk and the scalping knife. I 
resisted with success the atttunpts of i\Iassachusetts and Con- 
necticut to encroach upon my borders and to foment disaffec- 
tion among my people. I visited England and procured 
charters under which life, liberty and property were safe in 
Ehodc Island for two hiuidred years. In a word, I ruled as 
Pericles ruled in Athens, as Henry of Navarre ruled in France, 
as Cromwell ruled in England, l)y force of honest purposes, 
consinnmate judgment and that ascendancy over men which 
was their birthrijiht and mine. Under m\' rule there came 
into existence a commonwealth in which individual liljcrty 
and public order have been reconciled as they have been 
nowhere else upon the face of the earth." 

It is this grand practical result « liich makes the history 
of Ehode Island uniipie and valuable ; and it is widely appre- 
ciated. A lady who has travelled far, but whose heart is 
still at home, once said to me : "there is no better place to 
hail from, in any i)art of the world, than the city of Provi- 
dence."' And a gentleman said to me : " I have lived in ever}' 
state from Maine to Texas, and have found no jjeople so 
friendly as the people of Ilhode Island." 


The explanation is simple, Rhode Ishmd men and women, 
while ehuniing the right to form their own opinions and to 
regulate their own condurt, do not seek to control or find 
faidt with the opinions and conduct of other people. 

It would be pleasant to dwell upon some of the illustra- 
tions of this, which have fallen under my own observation, 
during a period of not much less than half a century, and 
to attempt to bring before you some of the men and women 
I have known in their habit as they lived ; but the time 
Mould fail, and I might trespass upon the dignity of history, 
of which I am very careful. 

Let it suffice to allude to the burning of the Gaspee, 
when the sober citizens of Providence in conscious recti- 
tude, and in a just cause, but without law, and against law, 
committed the earliest of those grand acts of rebellion which 
ended in national independence ; to the long and persistent 
resistance, in the interest of liberty, to the adoption of the 
Constitution of the United States, probably unwise, but 
none the less characteristic, earnest and sincere. On the 
other hand, remember how the law was upheld in the sup- 
pi-ession of the Olney street riots. I might cite the events 
of eighteen hiuidred and fortj'-two ; but though the old tires 
have died away, the eml)ers are alive under the ashes, we 
should not l)c quite at one upon all points, and this is no 
time or place for controversy. We shall all admit that law 
and order jirevailed in those daj's, and here I must relate an 
anecdote which. uj)on the occasion to which I have referred, 
a Massachusetts divine of rare gifts and virtues did not 
properly locate. It was shortly after eighteen hundred and 
forty-two, and when at a dinner in 'Sew York some gentle- 
men were expressing great anxiety about the anti-rent dis- 
turl>ances in that state, "Gentlemen," said Mr. Webster, 
" the remedy is plain ; annex yourself to Rhode Island." 

It is well to study the past, to reverence the great and 
good men who have lived before us, and to build monuments 
in their memory. Happy is the individual who can trace 


his descent from a virtuous anccstr^y I Happy the nation 
whose annals record great achievements in war and peace ! 
It is as true of communities as of individuals that " all the 
foregone days of virtue work their hcnltii into this." These 
jTj'eat advantages Rhode Island and her citizens, native and 
adopted, may justly claim. I say adopted, as Mcll as native, 
for though a great Rhode Islander once spoke of the immi- 
grants from other states as " men who have come among us 
without our invitation, and upon whose departure there is no 
restraint," he alluded only to those who impertinently med- 
dled with institutions which they were unable to appreciate. 
To all such as have intelligence enough to know Mhen they 
are well ofl", Rhode Island lias always extended a cordial 

But Rhode Island will not forget that while she has 
excelled them ail, other daughters have done virtuously. 
Each one of the old Thirteen has a grand history, and 
together they have created a "noble and puissant nation 
(even now) rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and 
shaking her invincil)Ie locks, as an eagle mewing her mighty 
youth, and kindling her unda/./led eyes at the full mid-day 

But the achievements and virtues of the past will avail 
us only as they encourage us to act well our parts in our day 
and generation. In a very important sense it is better to 
forget those things which are behind and press forward. 
Our work is in the living present. And there is work enough. 
The fields are white for the harvest. As a nation we are 
entering upon a new century of life. Grave (piestions are 
under discussion. Great opportunities encourage exertion. 
Serious dangei's call for vigilance. 

There once prevailed an impression that the last act in 
the great drama of the race was to be enacted here. If we 
failed, the experiment of free government would never be 
renewed. I do not share in tiiis impression. I have faith 
that the world improves from age to age, l)utlsee no reason 


why the same causes which have dcstro3'ed other nations, 
may not also destroy this nation. I know of no reason why 
we may not furnisii anotlier example, 

" How luiUons sink, by ihuliiii; schemes opprost, 
When vengeance listens to the fool's request." 

I am quite contident that only the old-fashioned virtues 
will save us. I expect wonderful discoveries in science, add- 
ing in the future, as similar discoveries have added in the 
past, to the physical imijrovemcnt and felicity of the race ; 
but I expect "no new discoveries in morality, nor many in 
the great principles of government, nor in the ideas of lib- 
erty, M'hich were understood long before we were born, 
altogether as well as the3' will be M'hen the grave shall have 
heaped its mould upon our presumption and the silent tomb 
shall have imposed its law upon oiu' pert loquacity." Hon- 
esty, piu-ity, industry, tidelity, a sense of obligation to fel- 
low men and of responsibility to God were as well imder- 
stood l)y the Hel>rew law-giver as they ever will be under- 
stood, and their relation to the well-being of individuals and 
nations is the same yesterday, to-da}^ and forever. 

But I see no reason for discouragement. I see no signs 
of national decay. It is true that a glance at the morning 
papers might seem to indicate that embezzlement, robbery, 
adulter}-, suicide, and crazy schemes for making money out 
of paper have taken possession of mankind. But we must 
remember that a newspaper collects the exceptional cases. 
He was a wise man who said : " Because half a dozen grass- 
hoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importu- 
nate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle repose beneath 
the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud, and are silent, 
pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the 
only inha1)itants of the Held." Forgive me for quoting 
Burke so often. I fear that some of my younger liearers are 
not so t\imiliar with him as those of us who I'ead the Enolish 
classics some fifty j-ears since. 

78 THE Cnv HALL. 

In nn' opinion the heart of the people is sound, most men 
are honest, and faithful to trusts. I hope I do not underrate 
the exceptions or their fearful eonse(iuenees. But eorrup- 
tiou, fraud and venality are not new in history, and their 
punishment, thousrh often delayed, has always I)een sure. 

There is mueh to l)e read in these days about the exist- 
ence of a personal God. May I he [jerniitted to say that fo 
my mind the revelation in history of what the Greeks called 
Nemesis, and what we call I'rovidence, is .stronger evidence 
of the presence of a righteous and intelligent Ruler than any 
si<rns of contrivance and dcsiirn in the material world. 

There are manj' hopeful signs of the times. Famine and 
pestilence are not ncjw things, l)ut when l)efore have such 
exertions been made for their relief as now ? Vice and crime 
are old ; what is new is the vast and varied effort for the ref- 
ormation of the vicious. The jjrofoundest problems relat- 
ing to the origin, the character and the destiny of man have 
been discussed from the dawn of history, but never, I think, 
in a temper so catholic, reverent and humane as in this gen- 

Forms of statement in theology which once prevailed live 
no longer in the faith of reason, but never, I think, in any 
previous age have the essentials of religious truth had 
greater control in the hearts and minds of men than they 
liave to-day. But perhaps themes are too high ; per- 
haps this is not a tit occasion for the discussion, and with a 
single suggestion I pass to other matters. It will be seen 
that I have faith in the future of the country. There are 
some ))olitical commonplaces which are misleading without 
exi)lanation. It certainl}' is not tiue, (^xeept in a very lim- 
ited sense, that all men are created e(iual, or tiiat government 
derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. 
It probably is true that the best form of government yet 
devised is that of the people, by the people, for the people. 
I see no reason to question the celebrated declaration that in 
this country liberty and union now and forever are one and 


inseparable ; but all forms, in the end, must jield to sub- 
stance, and neither liberty nor is union an end in itself, but 
only a means to the end of yix in<r every man and woman 
protection and a fair chance in life. Ko government will 
long retain the respect or the su])port of the people which 
does not bring its whole force, if necessary, to the protection, 
in all constitutional rights, of every man, woman and child, 
of whatever clime or color, over which it claims or ventures 
to float its flag. 

Vague advice as to the performance of duty may not be so 
useful as a practical suggestion of some dclinite thing which 
ought to be done. 'While there are many institutions and 
enterprises in this city which deserve fostering care and 
liberal support, but which cannot now be alluded to, there 
are some which seem to me to be of special interest and 
about which I wish to say a few words. 

The Fi-anklin Lvceum. Great value is to be attached to 
debating societies as a means of education. Public deliate, 
in this part of the country, has of laic fallen into disuse, but 
it cannot be dispensed with. The press is powerful and use- 
ful, but it cannot supply the place of the living voice. The 
Founder of Christianity knew what was in man when he 
provided for the preaching of His gospel. Printed sermons 
do good, but the pulpit is a perennial necessity. "When vital 
issues are to be discussed, when the hearts of men are moved, 
as forests are moved by the wind, there is a call for the elo- 
quent orator. The orator is the natural foe of the tyrant. 
The one thinEf of which Ctesar was afraid was the tongue of 
Cicero. The Franklin Lyceum should receive a liberal pat- 
ronage. The young men of the city should avail themselves 
of its advantages, and interest themselves in the discussions 
there, lleraember it is a debate which I recommend, and 
not the platform talk, when there is no chance to reply, of 
which the spontaneous growth is (]uite sufficient. That 
recjuires no cultivation. I understand that the Lyceum invites 
young ladies to its meetings. It is to be hoped that they 


may be allowed to participate in the debates. They would 
soon cause the yonns^- men to look well to the foundation of 
their opinions. I think that if tlic nieinlM'rs of tlie Judiciary 
Committees of the General Assembly were compelled to 
debate with the ladies who come before them from year to 
year, tlic cause of woman-suflVairc would make more rapid 
progress than it does. 

The Public Library. I should like to discourse upon the 
suliject of reading. Much has been said about it, and well 
said, but tlie hidf hasnot been told. Giblion said he would 
not exchange his habit of reading for the wealth of the Indies. 
Of course not. Of wiiat use would the wealth of the Indies 
be to him? Rufus Ciioatc intimates that he would have 
been insane but for his power of losing himself, after the 
vexations of the court-house, in his lil)rary. I can under- 
stand that. Alexander T. Stewart is said to have required 
no amusement but such as he could find in a good book. I 
can understand that. By reading I do not mean consulting 
books for instruction in any l)ranch of knowledge. I do not 
mean study for the improvement of the mind. These arc 
perhaps the highest uses of ])ooks, but I am speaking of 
reading as rest, recreation, amusement. That man or woman 
is little to be envied who cannot at any time which can be 
spared from active duty find pleasant company in a book ; 
and then a book can always be laid aside at will, and this is 
not true of any other company. I hope; the Public Library 
will receive such patronage that all the people will have 
access to the best books as freely as to the air we breathe. 
Books are almost as essential to the health of the mind as 
fresh air is to the health of the body. 

The University. It belongs to the state as well as to the 
city, l)ut in what I have said to-day I have not attempted to 
separate the state fronr the city. They cannot be separated. 
Their risjhts, their duties are to a ijreat extent common, their 
interests are wholly so. It is said that Mv. Webster drew 
tears from Chief Justice Marshall in the Supreme Court of 


tlio Unifed States, when lie alluded to his love for Dartmouth 
College. " It is a small college," he said, " but there are 
those who love it." Men of less ability may yet cherish a 
love for the place of their education, and you will jiardon me 
if I say a few words al)out Brown University. 

I speak of the time when I was a student there. We 
went, some of us, attracted by the fame of the jiresident. 
We were told that it was a Baptist college, but that Dr. 
Wayland was so great a man, and so admirable a teacher 
that it was best to overlook the sectarian character of the 
institution. We remained there four years, and so far as I 
remember had no means of knowing wdiat denomination, or 
whether any, had control of the college. I am sure that 
Baptists never stood any l)etter chance than the rest of us. 
But all that had lieen told about the president was true. I 
have always intended publicly to express my sense of obli- 
gation to that man, and now is the time. I see him now as 
he stood in the old chapel and spoke to the students of the 
claims of religion upon educated young men, in a sermon, 
whole passages of which I remember. Dr. AVayland owed 
something to a personal presence, second in majestic dignity 
only to that of Daniel AA'ebster. He owed more to that 
force and precision of thought in which neither Daniel Web- 
ster nor any other man was his superior. Ilis crowning 
merit was respect for the rights, and iidelity to the laws of 
conscience. In this he ^vas the peer of Roger Williams. 

There may have been teachers equal to him, but though I 
have had manj^ and some good ones, in college and since I 
left it, I have never met the equal of Dr. Wayland in influ- 
ence over me. I repeat here what I have often said, that 
whatever I may have been al)le to do in my profession, or 
otherwise, I owe in great part to daily contact with the mind 
of Dr. Wajdand during a portion of my college life. But 
to i-eturn to the subject of the luiiversity. We thought that 
we had a sutKciently thorough training there in those days, 
but I know that the standard of education is much higher 


now, and I am eontideiit that tliorc is no collpo-o in the 
countiy which otl'ers opportiuiities to young mon suj)oiior to 
those of Brown University. 

I do not think tliat it has reecivcd from this community 
an adc(|uate return for the henetits wiiicii it lias Itestowed. 
Liberal l)encfactt)rs it has had, l)Ut it deserves a more gen- 
eral sujjport, and I venture to sa}' this not unmindful of the 
remark that there are few pleasures eijual to that of giving 
away other people's money. I took a new pride in my 
friendship for William F. Sayles when he made a memorial 
to a beloved child, a contribution also to the cause of sound 
learning. I presume that he could say with the English 
nol)leman upon whom a like attliction had been laid: "I 
would not give my dead son for any living son in Christen- 
dom." 15ut MJiy shouhl not some of oui' citizens ^\•hose liv- 
ing sons come from its walls well ecjuipped for the warfare of 
life, express their gratitude Iiy contributing of their sub- 
stance to the university ? They would never regret it, and 
it may be doubted if they could better serve the community 
by any other use of their money. The university is pros- 
perous now, l)ut it ought to be able to supply the constantly 
increasius demands of the times. It will i-cturn four-fold 
whatever it may receive. You cannot atlbrd to neglect its 
claims. One thing is certain, whatever the future may have 
in store for us ; whatever changes may come in church, 
state, or social life, no community can have permanent wel- 
fare in which enlightened intellect and educated conscience 
do not bear sovereign sway and masterdom. 

I have not said anything about the ])uilding which we 
have come here to dedi<'ate. I do not intend to say much. 
It has arisen in fair proportions after many years and much 
controversy. It is worthj' of the prosperous and rapidly 
^rowinsr city of I'rovidcnc^c. There Mas a time when the 
Ark of the Covenant dwelt within curtains, but there came 
a period in the progress of the nation when it was litly sur- 
rounded by the splendor of the temjile-woi-ship. 


The l)usiness of the city of Providence has heretofore been 
very well transacted in one place and another ; it has now 
found an appropriate home. "Within these walls from gen- 
eration to generation will l)e i)rescrvcd the public records. 
Here the city oiBcers will ijcrform their dail^y duties. Here 
from time to time the leefislativc and administrative l)oards 
of the city will assemble. No complaint will ever be made 
by the citizens of the cost or adornment of this l)uilding so 
long as it is occupied I)}' honest and capable men, and if it is 
not so occupied it will be the fault of the citizens themselves. 

As we bring these exei'cises to a close it is impossible not 
to be reminded that while communities endure, the life of 
the individual is short and precarious. A few more diiu-nal 
or annual revolutions of the earth, and us the all-beholding 
.sun will see no more in all his course. Otiiers will soon 
take our places and we wish to bid them welcome. It would 
be unwise for nie to use other words than those which were 
spoken long since at the Kock of Plymouth. 

"Advance, then, ye future generations I We would hail 
you as _you rise in your long succession, to till the places 
which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of e.vistence 
where we are passing, and soon shall have passed, our human 
duration. We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the 
fathers. We 1)id 3'ou welcome to the healthful skies and the 
verdant fields of New P^ngland. We greet }'our accession 
to the great inheritance whicli we have enjo^'cd. We wel- 
come you to the blessings of good government and religious 
liberty. We welcome j'ou to the treasures of science and 
the delights of learning. We welcome you to the trans- 
cendent sweets of domestic life, to the hajipiness of kindred, 
and parents, and children. AVe welcome you to the immea- 
surable l)lessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of 
Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth ! " 



Aliuiglity and cvcrlasliiig (iod, wc; how down in liuiiiMc 
ucknowlednniciit ofTliy .supreiiie dominion over us, and of our 
al)solutc dependence upon Thee. Hallowed he Thy name: 
notwitstandinji' our inanil'old oHenee.s Thine eyes are always 
open to our miseries, and Thine ears ever ready to hear the 
supplications vvc ofter unto 'I'liee. 'J'o-da}' our hearts an; 
tilled with gratitude for new favors. This edifice in which 
we are assemhled is the work of Thine own hands. Thou 
hast inspired its hcauty and construction, and enahled us fo 
hrinir it to a successful termination. \\ <.' know that unless 
the Ijord huild the house, in vain have tlii-y lahored who 
huild it. AVe have i)lanted and watered it is true, hut it is 
to Thee we look for th(! increase. It is not to please the 
fanc\' that this niagniticent struelure is erected, hut to \no- 
vide accoinmodation suitahle for the dignity and growtli of a 
great city, and for those who will share in its government. 
Give us, O Loi'd, men of honest energy and sound sense, 
who will carry on the cit\' atlministration on the? same husi- 
ncss principles with whicii they conduct their own jjrivate 
concerns. Teach our chief ni;igistrates in the future as 
'Thou hast graciously taught them in the past, to act as 
non-partisan representatives of \\w nnmicipal interests, 
turning neither to the right hand, nor to the left, ignoring 
j)arty politics, hut devoting themselves entirely to the inter- 
ests of the city. 'J'each them a wise and far-sighted (!con- 
omy — not such as will slop needed imi)r()vcinents, hut such 
as will guard us against willful waste, political haipies, 
unscrupulous and su[)crtluous officials. We wish to have 
everything made beautiful and attr.ictive around us ; fine 
huildings, and handsome residences ; the necessaries of life, 
such as fine jiai-ks with pure air, ])ure water, clean and well 
paved streets with ample sewerage. These invite wealth from 
elsewhere to settle amongst us. Whatever in this way helps 


to enrich tlic city and ijromotc tiie general prosperity of the 
people, we will gladly encourage, and in procuring them we 
ask of Thee, O Lord, Thy powerful assistance. 

But as the interests of the soul are pai'aniount to those of 
the hod^-, we beg of Thee, the Spirit of Wisdom, tliat we 
may always desire eternal things in preference to the goods 
of this world ; the spirit of iniderstanding, that free from 
perjjlexitv and donI)ts we may neither he slow in believing 
nor in working; the spirit of counsel that we may be pro- 
tected against all irreverent conduct and hasty decision ; the 
spirit of virtue, that strengthened by the divine grace, we 
may l)e willing to lose all our temporal possessions, our lives 
and oui- liberties, rather than yield to the transgressions of 
Thy divine law. Grant us to have compassion on the poor, 
tiiat we may do them good, and bear the evil they do us 
without l)reaking forth into expressions of anger and cruelty 
against them. 

Finally, O Lord, we acknowledge and thank Thee for the 
exhaustless wealth of this great country ; for the genius of 
its citizens, the advancement of science, and the immense 
growth of our material prosperity'. May these favors never 
retard our modern pi'ogress. It is not for our indulgence 
that Thou bestowest such blessings, but that we may become 
better Christians. Let us not mistake unbelief for enlight- 
enment, nor licentiousness for independence. Teach us that 
authority is not inconsistent with liberty, and that individual 
freedom can and ought to exist without anarchy. Teach us 
never to forget that religion nmst be the; real basis of good 
government and social prosperity' ; and that whatever tends 
to lessen our faith on Divine truths, leads to selfishness, loss 
of patriotism, and danger to our common country. Amen. 


May the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, descend upon 30U, tilling you with all manner of 
good things, and abide with you forever and ever. 





Tlie following arc the entire disbursements of the City 
Hull Coiumission for the originally contemplated work, with 
the olijects of the expense, and the separate amounts 
expended on them. 

Excavation, B. F. Gladding, contractor, 

Piling and foundation, Boynton Bros., contractors, 

Granite \vorl<, J. G. Battersou, contractor, 

Briclv acconnt, Hopl^ins & Poniroy, contractors. 

Laying briclv and setting granite, H. G. Macoraljer, contractor, 

$1,512 47 
34,G3G 80 
222,071 68 
54,817 38 
47,543 05 


Wrought and cast iron vvorli, roof, etc., etc. First contract 

witli C. H, Parker &, Co., Boston; second witli .\rchitec- 

tural Iron Worlvs, New York, and the completion of it l)y 

A. R. Whitney, Esq., New York, bondsman of latter Co., 

Iron work extra, outside of contract, A. R. Whitney, 

Iron work in dome, per contract, A. R. Whitney, contractor, 

Wire lathing substituted for concrete tiles, A. R. Whitney, 

personal contract, ...... 

Area coverings with Hyatt light, A. R. Whitney, personal 
contract, ....... 

Flue pipes, contract with Architectural Iron Works, 
Iron window frames and shutters, in place of wood as con- 
tracted for, G. W. & F Smith, Boston, contractors, 

.\raouut carried forward, ..... 







11,735 00 







1520,380 44 


Amount brought forward, ..... $520,380 44 

Corru2;ated iron floor and partitions in dome, .T. 15. & J M. 

Cornell, New York, ...... 3,0fi.". 09 

Vaults, doors and frames, C. E Kirksluiw, . . . 2,315 00 

Heating and ventilating apparatus, Davidson & Mars, con- 
tractors, finished by Edward Mars, New York, original 
contract, •1li20,420, ...... 31,3G1 41 

Plastering and stucco work, .Tolin Mack, Boston, contractor, 

original contract, SIR, 200, ..... 18,22733 

Carpentry and contingent work, Morton & Chesley, Boston, 

contractors, original contract, $71), 828, . . . 103,,'334 08 

Plumbing account, P. & .T. Tierney, Providence, contractors, 

original contract, .§7,879, ..... 17,218 97 

Marble work, A. Wentworth Roberts & Co., Boston, con- 
tractors, original contract, .$1G,700, 

Electric work, tubes, wires, indicators, clocks, etc., O. C. 
Williams, contractor, Providence, 

Spanish tiling for floors, .John Chadwick, New York, con- 
tractor, ....... 

Bronze lamp pillars, lanterns, etc., in front and on the sides, 
Shreve, Crump & Low Manufacturing Co., contractors, 
Boston, ....... 

Lightning rods, VV. A. Orcott, contractor, Boston, 

Gas piping, etc., Walworth Manufacturing Co , contract, 

6«f;9, and extra, ...... 1.78720 

Concreting sub-basement, floors, walls, etc., contract with 
Portland Cement Stone Co., 

Levelling up floors with cement, concreting, etc., contract 
with G. W. Lewis. ...... 

Passenger elevator, Galland, Bash & Co., New York, con- 
tractors, ....... 

Side walk lifts, T. Stebbins & Whitlier Manufacturing (^o., 
contractors, ....... 

Water and sewer connections. Providence Water Works, 

Fire proof ceilings and partitions, contract with J. G. Haley, 

Hot water boiler, P. & J. Tierney, 

City of Providence, bill for engineering, 

Oftice rent and expenses, .... 

Clerk hire, ...... 

Advertising, ...... 

Books, stationery and printing, 

Superintendent, contract with S. P. Brown, 

Architect, contract with S. J. F. Thayer, 

Amount carried forward, .... 





































. 26,148 






Amount Ijrouglit forward, . . . . . 

Carpentry chiriug construction, alteration account, grad- 
ing, etc , . 

Extra masonry during construction, . . . . 

Coal account, contracts and orders of commissioners, 

Birch lumber, flooring account, contract with Waumbek 
Lumber Co., ...... 

Laying track from H. P. and Fishkill track to yard, . 

City of Providence for water, . . . . . 

Various bills not classified, which on the commissioners' 
books are charged to " sundry account " : — 

Paper under floors, dome, etc., etc., H. Staples & Co., 

Cloth for windows during construction, 

Models of columns, pilaster, etc., and boxing. 

Wire guards for basement windows, H. H. Fenner, 

C. A. Hall, measuring accouut. 

Flag-staff and two side staffs, and work on them. 

Paints, oils, varnish, brushes, etc., etc., Rice. Draper & Co 

Work on heating, gas, etc., various small bills. Wood 
Winsor, ...... 

Blacksmithing, sharpening tools, iron work, etc., Thomas 
Wyatt, G. W. Smith, .... 

Temporary heatin.g accouut, iutluding coal. 

Oiling and filling floors, .... 

H. Morgan, teaming, ..... 

Bronze rosettes, ...... 

Work ordered by lamp department, in dome, etc.. 

Work on ventilator in dome, sinks, etc., Spicers & Peckham 

Electrical expert, L. W. Clarke, 

Work on ventilator, etc., H. T. Root, ... 

Painting roof and puttying same, L. Levesidge, 

.§823,300 5G 

8.084 04 
2,3.')8 02 
2, .538 71 

3,876 19 

1,329 35 

79.5 83 

32fi 91 
111 8.5 
022 00 
85 00 
317 98 
416 89 
319 80 

3G1 87 

1,435 94 

410 97 

342 38 

43 70 

40 00 

225 10 

394 55 

50 00 

96 94 

210 05 

Bronze work l)}- John R. Shirley 

Bronze rail. 
Nickel plated rail. 
Bronze work, 
Letters on mail boxes, 
U. S. mail box. 
Iron ventilator, 
Lamps, per contract, 
Lantern posts, 
Gas piping, etc , 
Gate and trimmings, 

§15 50 

18 00 

25 25 

40 00 

55 00 

90 00 

195 00 

200 00 

90 00 

114 63 

843 38 

.Amount carried forward, 

. $848,998 01 



Amount brought forward, 
Bronze work, 

Posts, lanterns and gas work, 
Picture rods, etc., etc., 

Guards for elevator, .... 

Providence Gas Co.'s bill (-SlOO for work on pipes). 

Pay rolls of S. P. Brown, superintendent, ashes for floors 
sand, gravel and labor hi lis. 

Painting vestibule and furnishing, 

Heating apparatus. Walker, Pratt & Co., 

Hardware, tools, etc., Barker, Chadsey & Co., 

Repairing wood work, paint, etc., after exliibition of build 
ing, Morlock & Bayer, .... 

Iron gallery, stairs, shelves, etc., extra in treasurer's vault 
Builders' Iron Foundry, .... 

Storm doors, sash, etc., Morton & Cheslcy, Matthew Chace, 

Iron work, jobbing, Wyatt & Barton, 

Personal expenses of the commissioners with the superin 
tendent to, from, and in New York on the 22nd, 23rd 
and 24th of February, 1877, to inspect certain buildings 
previously to consummating the interior contracts on 
city hall, ....... 

.5848,998 01 

.S212 27 

179 3G 

310 51 

400 00 

1,102 14 


90 00 

907 40 



9,213 97 

200 00 

74 00 


G2 G3 

287 45 

300 00 

1,0C8 70 

190 00 

8G 00 

S8G2,580 30 

From this amount deduct profit on oak lumber sold con- 
tractors, $91)5.29, and sundry sums credited " sundry 
accounts," §135.97, ...... 

1,131 26 

$8G1 449 04 

This sum, -5801,449.04, not only includes the actual amount 
exp(tnded by this commission conformably to the esti- 
mates, but it includes the enhanced cost of the change 
agreeably to resolution No. 122, 2Gth February, 1875, of 
the city council, of making the structure fire proof, as 
well as the increased expense resulting from many 
important alterations and additions ordered from time to 
time to be made by the city council. 

The commission has also, agreeably to instructions, expended 
for sidewalks, not contemplated in estimates. 

The commission includes among its expenditures the expenses 
of laying the corner stone, ..... 

8G1,449 04 

22,994 9G 

I.IOG 28 

Amount carried forward, 

35,550 28 



Amount brought forward, ..... $885,550 28 
The two following charges, being sums allowed by the city 

council on an appeal from a (.lecision of tliis commission, 

are included among its disbursements ; 
H. G. Macomber, on contract for laying briclj and setting 

granite, ....... 10,500 00 

S. J. F. Thayer, arcliitect, ..... 10,000 00 

$906,050 28 

The following are the appropriations which have been made 
to this commission, M'ith the dates showing the times they 


granted : 


















































$10,000 00 

100,000 00 

200,000 00 

100,000 00 

100,000 00 

100,000 00 

100,000 00 

38,498 00 

50,000 00 

75,000 00 

75,000 00 

$948,498 00 

The whole amount expended by tliis commission agreeablj' to 

foregoing statement, ..... 906,050 28 

Leaving an unexpended balance of forty-two thousand four 
hundred forty-seven and 72-100 dollars, agreeably to 
the books of this commission, .... 42,447 72 

Tlie following charges against the city hall have been fur- 
nished by the auditor, and they are expenditures over which 
your commissioners have had no voice nor control : 

Boynton Brothers, .... $83,14005 

Asphalt pavement, .... 11,30928 

Grading, ...... 1,321 45 

Telegraphic expense, .... 1,780 00 

Amount ordered to be taken from appropriations 
to the city hall commission, and transferred 

to furniture committee, . . . 28,225 OO 

Amount caried forward, 

575,775 78 



Amount brought forward, 
Amount ordered to be taken from appropriation 

to the city hall commission, and transferred 

to furniture committee, 
Amount ordered to be taken from appropriation 

to the city liall commission, and transferred 

to furniture committee, 

§•75,775 78 

725 00 

300 00 

$76,800 78 

This expenditure of seventy six thousaml eiirht hundred 
and 78-100 dollars being by the city charged to the city hall 
account, lessens by precisely this amount the balance, which, 
bj' the commissioners' books, appears to its credit. Your 
commissioners, therefore, have requested your honorable 
body that so much of their original appropriation as may be 
necessary to meet all liabilities included in the sum of 
$900,050.28, be restored to tlie credit of this commission, 
accordingly on February 4, 1879, $30,000 wa.s so added, and 
on May 7, 1879, $5,000 was also added, 
Add balance as shown by the books of the conimissiou. 

Unexpended balance. 

+2,4-17 72 

77,447 72 
76,800 78 

$04G 94 

The models of column.^, pilasters, etc., are supposed to 
be in the possession of J. G. Batterson, the contractor, and 
should be retuinied, as they may, in case of accident, be of 
value to the city. Having conii)lctcd the duties assigned to 
them, the commissioners respectfully request that the hon- 
oi'able council indicate to whom the books, papers and mate- 
rial in their ofBce shall be delivered. 

Upon the presentation of the final report of the city hall 
commissioners, the city council unanimously passed the fol- 
lowing resolutions, M'hich were approved by the mayor June 
20, 1879 : 

Resolved, That the final report of the city hall commis- 
sioners be received, and the city council herebj' tenders to 


said commissioners congratulations upon the completion of 
their work, and thanks for gratuitous services rendered in 
the erection of this substantial and elegant edifice. 

Resolved, That the city hall commissioners be requested 
to deliver to the city clerk, all hooks, papers, and material 
belonging to the city, now in their possession. 



0<'tobcr 1, 1877, a contnict was made witli ]Mr. Samuel J. 
F. Thayer, to make the designs and working plans, and to 
superintend the construction of the furniture and fittings to 
be purchased by the committee. 

On the 12tli of October, 187(1, the committee were 
directed by the city covuicil, to consider and report upon the 
suggestions of the city hall commissioners in their report of 
the same date, relative to the proper assignment of the rooms 
in the city hall to the several departments of the government. 
The committee grave lon<; and careful considerations of this 
matter, and caused entirely new floor plans to l)e made by 
the architect, introducing many alterations of minor parti- 
tions, and radically changing the location of many of the 
departments. The result of this labor was reported to the 
city council, January 11, 1877, and the report was adopted 
by joint resolution No. 30, series of 1877. 

On the 29th of January, 1877, the committee reported to 
the city council the advisability of greatly increasing the size 
of the large i-oom of tlu; water departments by a change of 
l)artitions, and also of altering and enlarging the entrance 


doors to this room. The suo^gestions so made were approved 
and ordered to be made by joint resolution Xo. 64, serie.s of 

On the 26th of April, 1877, the message of the mayor, 
relative to the size of the aldermen's chamber, and advising 
its re-location and enlargement, was referred to the committee 
as to its propriety and cost. 

On the 7th of ]\Iay, 1877, a report was presented to the 
city council from a majority of the committee adverse to any 
change, and also a report from the minoi-it}^ of the committee 
recommending that a change lie made. The report of the 
majority was adopted by the city council. 

By joint resolution No. 282, series of 1878, twelve thou- 
sand dollars was appropriated to defray the expenses of 
painting so much of the interior of the building as might be 
thought advisable, and this committee were authorized to 
cause the work to be done. 

Subsequently, In'joint resolution No. 376, same series, the 
appropriation for painting was added to that for furnishing. 

On the 24th of August, 1878, the committee were author- 
ized to sell by public auction such of the furniture in the old 
city building as might not be required in the new city hall, 
the proceeds of such sale to be added to the appropriation for 
furnishing the new city hall. Under this authority sale M'as 
made on the 15th of February, 1879, the net proceeds of 
which were §1)36.87, and this amount was paid over to the 
city treasurer. ***** 

On the 24th of August, 1878, the committee was charged 
by the city council with the duty of properly connecting the 
various departments of the city government in the city hall 
with the lines of telegraph used by them, the expense thereof 
to be charged to the ap])ropriation for the city hall. The 
committee have completed this duty, and will make a sepa- 
rate rejiort upon this subject. 

On the 24th of August, 1878, the claim of S. J. F. 


Thayer for compensation for extra services as architect of 
the city hall was referred to the committee with authorit}' to 
settle the same. The committee held several long sessions 
on this matter, and carefully heard the testimony of parties 
on both sides, causing the testimony to be taken dow'n by a 
short hand reporter. An amicable settlement was finally 
made, reducing the amount claimed by nearly one-half, 
which settlement was reported to the city council January 
20, 1879. 

On the 15th of March, l.STit, the committee were author- 
ized to settle a claim of Messrs. Potter, Denison & Co., 
against the city for a desk, etc., contracted before the 
appointment of this committee. After a careful considera- 
tion of the matter it was found to be impossible to make a 
settlement satisfoctory to the conuiiittee, and a report to that 
effect was made to the cit}" council May 22, 1879. 

April .'), 1879, tiie matter of tiie claim of F. Hacker & Co., 
for pay for a picture and frame, was referred to the commit- 
tee with authority to settle the same. On the 19th of May, 
1879, the committee reported to the city council that the pur- 
chase was not made l)y them, and (liat settlement had better 
be made in some other way. 

Ajjpropriations have been made for furniture for the city 
hall as follows : By 

Kcsolutioii No 589, series of 187."i, 

No. 282, " 


No. 383, 


No. 464, 


No. 611, 


No. 160, 





12,000 00 



10,000 00 

5,.500 00 





Expenditures have been made by tlje committee as follows 
for the articles hereinafter named •: 


New furniture, ....... .$29,925 ."il 

Labor aud inatcrial-i in tlie repair an<l retiui.sli of old furniture, 2,50+ 20 

Gas fi.xtures, ....... 10,839 IB 

Burglar-proof safes, ...... 5,250 00 

Clocks, dials and battery for same, . . . 2,910 67 

Chairs, ........ 3,719 54 

Carpets, . . . . . . . 1,20+02 

Metal rail in treasury, aldermen's eliamlier and water depart- 
ment, ....... 2,2()S 00 

Decorative paintiiij;-. includiuj; all painting in rooms deco- . 

rated, ....... 7,057 9 + 

Plain painting, ....... 3,7+5 92 

Premiums for designs for decoration. . . . 250 00 

Architect's fees, . . ' . . .' 3,029 +8 

Plate glass and mirrors, . .' .' '. 2,061 75 

Curtains and leather hangings, .... 1,195 57 

Hydraulic letter presses, . . . . ' . 285 00 

Printing, ........ 69 28 

Travelling expenses, . . . . . 2+1 00 

Hose and fire extinguishers. . . . . 1+2 75 

Spittoons, ....... 232 00 

Thermometers, . . . . . . . 48 50 

Metal towel racks, ...... 58 50 

Plumbing, ....... 13 6+ 

Towels, ....... 65 55 

Sign painting, . . . . . . . +9 55 

Ice water set, ...... 30 00 

Electric lighting machines and wire, .... +95 15 

Picture frames, . . . . . . 152 20 

Marble work in treasury and aldermen's chamber, . . 62+60 

Fire-grates and fixtures, . . . . . 172 58 

Repairs of old town clock. . . . . . +00 

Match boxes, paper baskets, step ladders, brooms, brushes, 

door mats, metal numbers and mops, . . +1+ 89 
Services of short-hand reporter iu taking testimony in the 
matter of the claim of S. J. F. Thayer, ordered to be settled 

by resolution No. 37+, series of 1878 ... 18 00 
Services of secretary of the committee authorized by joint 

resolution No. 2+6, series of 1878, . . . 200 00 

Total expenditUJ-es, ..... .$79,285 55 

Total appropriations, .... 79,161 87 

Deficiency, ..... f 123 68 

The following i.s a list ol' the names of the jiaitics and the 



amount paid to each, of whom purchases have been made, 
certified vouchers for which are on file in the office of the 
citv auditor : 

S. J. F. Thayer, 

. 63.020 4S 

J. A. & 1{. A. Keid, .... 

on L's 

E. S. Uliodes, ...... 

12 00 

Doe & Huniiewell, ..... 

I,7.-)0 17 

Moi'lock & Bayer, ..... 

ii,oi;i ot 

Lawrence, Wild & Co. .... 

3,710 54 

r.ige & LitUefidd, ..... 

G.aoo 00 

Morton & Clie-sley, ..... 

7,01(5 80 

John U. Shirley, ..... 

777 78 

E. Howard & Co., ..... 

2.0 1 G V.7 

Georne A. Milis, ..... 

3,404 30 

Riclinrd,s & Beldm, ..... 

1,244 31 

A. T. Stewart &Co., ..... 

1,304 17 

Thonia.s Phillips & Co., .... 

28.5 GO 

W. J. McPher.son, ..... 

7,157 94 

Alexander Grant, ..... 

3,745 02 

Cornelius & Co., .... 

12,393 88 

Poller & Co., 

2.G37 33 

Corli.s.s Safe Manufacturing Co., 

5.250 00 

A. Wentworth Koljert.s & Co., 

C24 fiO 

Smith & Co , . 

1,400 00 

J. Harry Wekli, ..... 

214 G2 

MitcluU Vance & Co., 

495 15 

G. & C. P. Hutchins, . . . . . 

230 50 

Henry T. Root, ...... 

147 31 

A. J. Baruaby (expen.'ses), .... 

G8 00 

W. Y. Potter (expenses;, .... 

IGl 00 

AV. Y. Potter ('services,) .... 

200 00 

New^ Ku?;land Butt Co., .... 

9 G- 

Thomas F. Adams, .... 

135 00 

G. A. Wallace & Co.. . 

23 33 

Timothy Hell'ernau, ..... 

49 55 

D. T>. Sweets Co., ..... 

536 50 

Tillingliast & Sherman, .... 

37 00 

Perliins Institute for the Blind, 

132 48 

Daniel F. Hayden, ..... 

18 00 

H. A. Hall, 

1 50 

H. T. Rider, 

8 75 

Isaac Hale, ...... 

4 00 

F. G. Hagan, ..... 

52 20 

Amount carried forward, .... 

. -578. C24 86 

THE cm- HALL. 


Amonnt brought forward, 
H. T. Brown & Co., 
W. Barstow & Co., 
Wallace & Co., . 

E. J. F. Barton, 
Grant & linge, 

F. H. Smith, . 
E. J. N. Stent, 
Thomas H. Ferkin."!, 
Tucker Manufacturing Co., 
Hartwell, Kicharcl.s & Co., 
Barker, Chadsey & Co., 

P. & J. Tierney, 
Biigbee & Hall, 
A. C.Eddy & Studleys, 
A. M. Bishop & Co , 

Total, . 

§78,624 86 

































The committee have had frequent consultation.? with the 
cit}^ hall commissioners, to the end that the furniture and 
iittings might harmonize with the interior of the build- 
ing. The uniform courtesy and valuable advice so received 
have been of great assistance in the attainment of any suc- 
cess achieved in this respect. 

The committee have held sixty-one meetings, and the sub- 
committee on the reception of furniture have been on duty 
constantly for more than half tlie time between May 1, 1878, 
and January 1, 1879. 

In conclusion, your committee desire to state that they 
have endeavored to carry out the original ideas of the pro- 
jectors of the city hall, and have been desii'ous that the inte- 
rior, in its fuiuiiture, fittings and decoration, should compare 
with the dignity and character of the building, in solidity, 
strength and titness for the purpose designed, and they feel 
sure that there is not a more complete structure, in all its 
details, among the public buildings in the country. 





The city hall is built of cut granite, having its main 
entnmce from Dorrance street. Viewed from any point 
upon Exchange place, it presents a striking appearance, and 
has been an object of great interest to the thousands who 
have visited it since its completion in November, 1878. 
Externally the building presents a massive but plain front. 

There is very little ornamented carving, but the predom- 
inance of lofty pillars and heavy arches gives to the whole a 
majestic beauty. 

It occupies an entire square, fronting upon Exchange place, 
and is bomided by Dorrance, Washington, Eddy and Fulton 
streets, and is surrounded by a sidewalk composed of granite 
blocks from five to six feet in width, and from eighteen to 
twenty-one feet in length. 

The basement, entered l)y doors on each of the four streets 
surrounding the building, is occupied by the police depart- 
ment, board of public works, superintendent of health, super- 
intendent of public schools, and the sealer of weights and 
measures, and is finished plainly, but elegantly, in oak. 
Beneath the basement is a cellar, or sub-basement, contain- 
ing the four fifty-horse power boilers designed to heat the 
buildiuir, the shops connected with the water department, 
and the machinery for operating the elevator. 

The main or first floor is reached from the street by a 
broad flight of steps on Dorrance street. Over the main 
entranee^'are the dates, 1874-78. Within, the departments 


106 THE C'lTV HALL. 

are arranged al)<)iit a liollow .s(juare, the central part of the 
building being devoted to spacious corridors, with tloors of 
white marble and wainscoting of variegated marbles, iu 
which black and gray predominate, and to a broad flight of 
white marble stairs, which, leading from the main floor to 
that above, divide to the right and left at a landing twenty- 
tive feet above the main floor, at the head of which is a 
bronze tablet, surmounted l)y the city seal })ainted ui)(ni til- 
ing, and bearing upon it this inscription : 

ronuT stone Laid, 

.Iiiiie 24, 1875. 

Comiiiissioncrs from 1.S74 to ISTf! : 

.Iamks Y. Smith, 

George H. Cokmss, William G. R. Mowky. 

Coramissioiiers from IS"!! to 1878: 

William G. K. Mowky, 

Henry G. Russkll. William M. Bailey. 


NovciiiIht 14tli, 1878. 

'I'iiomas a. Doyle, Mayor. 

Samiei. .1 F. TiiAYEit, .Xrcliilcct. 

From these stairs oiu' has an unobstructed \iew to the top 
ofthe building, which is surniountiMJ by a huge arch, or sky- 
light, of glass and iron, rendering ail parts of the building 
"as light as day." The other floors of the building are 
reached iiy stairs on one side of the building, while on the 
other an elevator, I'un by water and handsomely finished, 
and connected with (!acii landing b}^ electric bells, carries 
passengers from the basement to tlie highest story. The cor- 
ridors are supported by six ])olish('(l granite pillars, and sur- 
rounded by massiv(! iron balustrades. 

At the right of the main entrances on the first floor is the 
executive departnuMit, coiniirising the outer or mayor's clerk's 
office, and the public and private oflices of the maj'or. The 
former is tastefully finished in black walnut. The latter is 
finished in beautifully polished mahogany, while the rich 
Sjuxon}' carpet, the beautiful mantel of Spanish marble, and 


tasteful frescoing of the walls and ceilino-, coniln'ne to make 
them the admiration of all visitors. 

The remainder of the first floor is occupied hy the depart- 
ments of the treasurer, auditor, tax assessors, i-ecorder of 
deeds, and city mcsseno-er, and the reception room. This lat- 
ter room is also finished in mahogany, and furnished through- 
out with great elegance and taste. Splendid mirrors adorn 
either end of the room, and the walls are covered with 
embossed leather of beautiful design. The remaining rooms 
on this floor, as well as in the rest of the building, are tinished, 
with one exception, in oak, and are su})plied witii every con- 
venience, among "which should be mentioned the impregnable 
safes of the Corliss patent in the Treasurer's vaults, which 
are a marvel of mechanical ingenuity. 

The second floor contains the chambers of the common 
council and the board of aldermen (the two occupj'ing the 
entire front and overlooking Exchange place), the municipal 
court room, the law department, the offices of the city clerk, 
and committee rooms. The aldermen's chaml)er is provided 
with suitable desks for the mayor and aldermen, and is beau- 
tifully finished in mahogany, the decoration of the walls 
being in perfect harmon}' with the furnishings of the room. 
A private stair-case leading from the basement to the second 
floor gives access to the mayor's pri\ate office, and the 
chamber of the board of aldermen. The council chamber is 
a spacious and lofty room, fift^'-eight feet long by forty-six 
feet wide, ami thirty-six feet high, finished in oak, and hand- 
somely decorated and lighted by a chandelier of fifty lights, 
each burner having the form of a candle. The desks of the 
members are separated by a railing from the seats of the aud- 
ience, who sit near the entrance and under the balcony, wliich 
is entered from the story above. Upon the walls hang the 
portraits of all the mayors of the city, from its incorporation 
to the present time. 

Upon the third floor are the city engineer's dei)artment, 
occupying an entire end of that story ; the offices of the 


superintendents of lights and of jiuhlic buildings, and the 
room of the committee on claims. 

The fourth floor, except the suite of rooms occupied by 
the family of the janitor, is as yet unused except for storing 
purposes. Ascending the iron stairway' which leads up into 
the dome, the visitor comes to the buttery room. Here are 
placed the batteries whiili generate the electricity used in 
striking the fii'e alarms throughout the city, and in running 
the clocks in the building. Going still higher up the circular 
flight which leads to the toj) of the dome, the visitor gains a 
grand view of the city, the surrounding country and Narra- 
gansett ba}'. 

There is nothing wanting in the whole building to render 
its occupants comfortable and to facilitate the conduct of 
business. Speaking tubes, with electric signals and annun- 
ciators, connect each office with those whose business is at all 
related, while the mayor's and the city messenger's offices are 
in these ways placed within hailing distance of every occupant 
of the building. Clocks keeping uniform time are so dis- 
posed as to meet the eye at almost every turn, and telephones 
connect with all outside departments. 

The total cost of the building was $1,034,521.84. 

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